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 Day 1: 2013 PGA Championship

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PostSubject: Day 1: 2013 PGA Championship   Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:34 pm

In spite of the rain that delayed play for an hour this afternoon, the opening round of the 95th PGA Championship was everything that the PGA of America and Oak Hill Country Club could have hoped for.

At the top of the leaderboard are a seasoned veteran, a former upstart finding form in major events and a slew of pretenders who, at one time or another, were forecast to be the next, great thing. Add in a few upstarts and Round 1 was a smashing success.

Jim Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, got out early this morning and set the standard with a 5-under 65. His scorecard was highlighted by six birdies against one bogey, on the difficult, par-4 No. 9. Furyk began his round on the back nine with a three on the par-4 No. 10, then added two more birdies, on Nos. 16 and 18. He made a second consecutive birdie on No. 1, added two more to get to minus-6 on the day, before closing with his lone bogey to fall back to 5-under.

Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, went on an afternoon tear on his opening nine. He birdied holes Nos. 4 through 8 to reach 5-under before the turn.

“Probably the best run I’ve ever had and I just hit really nice shots and didn’t leave myself too much work,” Scott said. “You have to take advantage of that if you are feeling that and I was through the turn there. It was a dream start after kind of a nervous first couple of holes.”

A sixth birdie on the brief but exciting, uphill No. 14 gave him sole possession of the lead. As with Furyk, a lone bogey (on No. 16) brought the Aussie back to the field. Scott finished in a tie with Furyk at five shots below par.

The most interesting round of the day belonged without doubt to the most interesting man in golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain. He made five consecutive birdies on holes Nos. 2 through 6, then added one more on No. 8, his penultimate hole. Unfortunately for the Iberian, he added two double bogies and one bogey to seven birdies, finishing at 2-under on the day.

If a round could be called a disappointment, it would be the one belonging to Tiger Woods. In a grouping with former PGA champions Keegan Bradley and Davis Love III, Woods started conservatively with two birdies on his first (the back) nine. His group was put on the clock for slow play on his 10th hole of the day, which might have created more than a bit of tension. An uncharacteristic bogey on the par-5 No. 4, a stretch birdied by many today, brought him back to 1-under. Woods closed with a double bogey on No. 9, his final hole, to finish what might have been a 3- or 4-under round at 1-over.

“[On No.] 9 I was completely blocked out and tried to shape one over there and I drew no lie at all from my third shot,” Woods said. “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.”

Despite the lackluster finish, Woods sees himself as a prime contender with three rounds left.

“I’m still right there,” he said. “I mean, as of right now I’m only six back and we have got a long way to go … I played really well today. As I said, just a couple … you know, one loose iron in there and ended up not having much of a shot. On the second shot after a decent tee shot on [No.] 9, I made a few par putts out there, as well. The round realistically could have been under par easily.”

An interesting pattern has developed of late in major championships. Rory McIlroy succumbed to the pressure of the 2011 Masters championship, then rebounded with a win two months later at the U.S. Open. Adam Scott collapsed late at the 2012 British Open, then bounced back to win this year’s Masters. If that template is to continue, then one of the men at 4-under is the leading candidate to do just that. Lee Westwood, leader of last month’s British Open (won by Phil Mickelson) for oh-so-long, signed for a pure round of four birdies and zero bogeys. If the Englishman can hang around into the weekend, he might shed the coat he wears, that of best player to have not won a major title.

Or is it Paul Casey (at 3-under) or Jason Day (at 2-under) or even Steve Stricker (also at 2-under) who wears that coat of many colors?

Matt Kuchar stands with Westwood, two strokes behind the leaders, while Jason Dufner (second in the PGA in 2011) and Bill Haas are at 2-under. The morning forecast is for isolated thunder showers, so more delays are likely, if not certain. The most important club in the bag on Friday will be patience, as rounds could once again go into the dusk of evening. In that case, one would expect the veterans to carry the burden best, but in “Glory’s Last Shot,” the upstarts and first-timers have a way of making things happen.

Will Roberto Castro, David Hearn, Robert Garrigus, Scott Piercy or everyone’s favorite moniker, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, make a name for himself at Oak Hill? For every Jack Nicklaus and Curtis Strange, there’s a Shaun Micheel.

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PostSubject: Re: Day 1: 2013 PGA Championship   Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:23 am

I thought Furyk was gonna win.

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