Saturday, February 24, 2018
Golf

Scott, Furyk share PGA Championship lead

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Adam Scott began the final major of the year with a tee shot deep into the trees. He ended the opening round of the PGA Championship by having to gouge out of deep rough. It was the golf in between that was some of the best he has played.

This year's Masters champion ran off five straight birdies early in his round Thursday on soft, vulnerable Oak Hill, and a 15-foot par putt at the end gave him a 5-under 65 and a share of the lead with Jim Furyk.

"Probably the best run I've ever had," Scott said of his five straight birdies, which tied his best such streak in any PGA Tour event, ESPN Stats and Info said.

"I just hit really nice shots and didn't leave myself too much work. You have to take advantage of that if you're feeling that. It was a dream start after kind of a nervous first couple of holes."

This was the fourth time Scott led or co-led after a round in a major, all in the past six majors.

"I put a lot into my game the last two years with a focus on the big tournaments," Scott said. "Everyone around me has had the same focus as well. We come here to do business."

Furyk, who won his lone major at the U.S. Open in 2003, shot his lowest career first round in a major after being a combined 28 over in this year's previous three majors.

He has gone nearly three years since his last win, at the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup and win tour player of the year. Still fresh are four close calls from a year ago, including at the U.S. Open.

He was as steady as Scott, rarely putting himself in trouble until the end of the round. Furyk missed the fairway to the right and had to pitch out because of thick rough and trees blocking his way to the green. That led to his only bogey but still his lowest first-round score in 19 appearances at the PGA Championship.

"Usually disappointed with ending the day on a bogey," Furyk said. "But you know, 65, PGA, is not so bad."

With overnight rain, humid conditions and a 71-minute delay for storms in the afternoon, Thursday might be as easy as it gets at Oak Hill, which has yielded only 10 scores under par over 72 holes in five previous major championships. Scott and Furyk were among 35 players who broke par Thursday.

Tiger Woods was not among them.

The world's No. 1 player made only two birdies despite playing in the still of the morning, and he watched his round fall apart with bogey on the par-5 fourth and double bogey on his final hole after his flop shot out of a deep rough floated into a bunker. Woods had 1-over 71, not a bad start at Oak Hill.

"The round realistically could have been under par easily," said Woods, whose worst position after 18 holes in a major win is tied for 33rd at the 2005 Masters when he was seven shots back.

The bright side for him: Three of past 6 PGA winners were six or more shots back after the first round, including Woods in 2007.

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