AKRON, Ohio — As opening rounds go, the one that unfolded Thursday at a benign Firestone Country Club could hardly have been better.
Tiger Woods returned from a three-month injury layoff and shot his lowest first round of a truncated year, surprising even himself by how solidly he struck the ball. Adam Scott teamed with Woods' former caddie, Steve Williams, to lead the field with a bogey-free 8-under 62. Scott made birdie on four of the last six holes to take a one-stroke lead over Jason Day.
And the leaderboard was awash in subpar rounds. Thirty-nine players broke par — the most of any round in the history of the tournament. Nick Watney's 65 and nine golfers who shot 66 came the closest to Scott and Day.
Woods, who shot 68, was six strokes off the lead.
"I played extremely solid," said Scott, who added that Williams, who was on Woods' bag for all seven of his WGC-Bridgestone wins at Firestone, helped him with a few reads on some greens and a few lines off the tees.
"He just seems to have a lot of good rounds in him around this place, that's for sure," Scott said of Williams. "He didn't think it was a big deal to shoot 62. It was normal."
There was nothing normal about the barrage of low rounds at the tree-lined, 7,400-yard Firestone South Course. Scott's 62 was the lowest first-round score in a WGC-Bridgestone event here, breaking the record he held with Stewart Cink. The field stroke average of 69.632 was the lowest first round since 2001.
The assault on par began early. As Woods and Darren Clarke teed off in front of a huge gallery for their afternoon round, Day was finishing his 63 with a small audience at the ninth hole. He treated them to birdie by rolling in an 18-foot putt.
Woods made two big putts on the front nine — both for par saves, from 18 feet at the third hole and 20 feet at the ninth. He made consecutive birdies at the 10th and 11th holes.
"It feels great," Woods said. "As anybody who's been off and who's been injured, first time back it's a little nervous to see what happens. But my practice sessions were good, so there's no reason why I should be worried out there. I went out there and let it go, let it rip and see what happens."
PGA: Nick O'Hern took advantage of calm morning conditions for 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead over Chris Riley in the first round of the Reno-Tahoe Open in Nevada. "Can't play much better than that," said O'Hern, who made six of his seven birdies on putts from 10 feet or closer while posting the only bogey-free round of the day. Defending champ Matt Bettencourt birdied two of his first four holes and was 2 under through six before a rib injury forced him to withdraw.