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Scott & Furyk Set Pace in PGA Championship
Major winners Jim Furyk and Adam Scott fired 5-under 65s to share the 18-hole lead in the 95th PGA Championship. The year's fourth and final major began Thursday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Playing in the morning, Furyk carded his lowest opening score in 19 PGA Championship appearances. The 43-year-old Pennsylvanian posted six birdies and a lone bogey on the par-70 course. "Obviously, I'm pleased with the round," said the 2003 U.S. Open champion. "Just looking through the stats here, which I don't usually look at. But just happy with the round.
"Really felt in control this morning. It was nice to get off to a good start birdieing No. 10. Knocked in a nice putt from about six feet, knocked in a good par putt on 11. Got off to a good start with the putter."
Scott also got off to a rousing start that threatened the competitive course record of 64 set by Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange. The 2013 Masters champion carded five straight birdies on Nos. 4-8, and tacked on another at the par-4 14th to reach 6-under. But the 33-year-old Aussie bogeyed the par-4 16th and had pars on the other holes.
"I just got on a bit of a roll . . . and you've got to take advantage when that happens," Scott said at greenside of his birdie run.
Dangerous weather that came through the area caused an hour-and-10-minute delay in the late afternoon.
One stroke behind the leaders are Canada's David Hearn and England's Lee Westwood.
"I did a little bit of everything well," said the 34-year-old Hearn, who had six birdies and two bogeys. "Drove it well. My only bad tee shot of the day was on 18, a little bit of a surprise there. But I hit great iron shots and I made a few clutch putts when I needed to on the back nine with some par putts to keep the round going. Overall, I think I did everything pretty well."
Westwood, still in search of his first major title, enjoyed a flawless outing with four birdies and no dropped shots.
Tied for fifth after shooting 67s were Americans Robert Garrigus, Matt Kuchar and Scott Piercy, along with Australians Marcus Fraser and Jason Day and England's Paul Casey.
Starting on the 10th hole, Casey went out in 1-over 36 off a bogey and eight pars. But on his home half, the 36-year-old Brit carded five birdies and a bogey for a 4-under 31. "Really happy with that,"said Casey, who has successfully battled back from a broken collarbone suffered in a snowboarding accident at the end of 2011.
"Three under was fantastic. Could have gone either way, the back nine was tricky. Probably the key was a par save on No. 18, which allowed me to keep going on the front nine and hit some wonderful shots, but did get lucky," added Casey. "A couple of really long putts on No. 5 and No. 7 which cleaned up the scorecard a lot. A little better than it felt, so I feel like maybe a couple of shots better than I should have been. But room for improvement and off and running and I'm happy with that."
2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose posted a bogey on the par-4 opening hole but offset that with four birdies to make the turn in 3-under 32. After eight straight pars the Brit ended on a sour note, bogeying the last for a 68 to join 10 other players - including 2010 PGA champion Martin Kaymer of Germany - in a tie for 11th.
Defending PGA champion Rory McIlroy played well early on, carding four birdies and a bogey to make the turn in 32. But a pair of bogeys at Nos. 10 and 11 - followed by a birdie on the 12th, five pars and another bogey on the par-4 17th - gave the 24-year-old Northern Irishman a 69.
Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion, also opened with a 69. The Vermont native, despite not firing on all cylinders, was happy with his start. "I felt really good," said the 27-year-old "I didn't play particularly well and shot 69, which is a really good sign. I'm going to hit the range here after lunch and get some stuff worked out."
Seeking his first major since 2008 - and the 15th of his career - Tiger Woods carded a 1-over 71. The game's top-ranked player and a five-time winner this year is coming off a victory in last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. But Woods' game was off Thursday.
Beginning on the 10th tee, he began well with two birdies to make the turn in 2-under 33. But on his home half, Woods bogeyed the par-5 fourth (his 13th hole) and doubled his last, the par-4 ninth, after an errant drive.
"I was completely blocked out and tried to shape one over there and I drew no lie at all from my third shot," he said of the final hole. "And I was just trying to play 20 feet long and putt back and try and just get bogey. I didn't even get over the bunker. Came out nowhere. Didn't really have much from there, hit a beautiful putt, just lipped out."
But despite being well down the leaderboard, Woods doesn't feel he's out of taking home his fifth Wanamaker Trophy. "I'm still right there," he said. "I mean, I'm - as of right now, I'm only six back and we have got a long way to go."
Among the other players also posting 71s was 2013 British Open champion Phil Mickelson, the 2005 PGA champion. In typical fashion, "Lefty" had a wild round, posting four birdies in the middle of his round but bracketing those with a bogey and two doubles.
Shaun Micheel, who came out of nowhere to win the PGA Championship the last time it was held at Oak Hill in 2003, opened with a 76.
Eight-time major winner, Tom Watson, opened with a 73. The only Grand Slam event the 63-year-old hasn't won in his storied career is the PGA Championship.
For all the scores, visit http://www.majorschampionships.com/pga-championship/leaderboard.html.
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