Thursday's Golf Capsules
Friday, August 3, 2012
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Jim Furyk made a detour to Florida to sit on his back porch and hang out with his kids as he tried to figure out why decent golf was producing ordinary scores. The short break appeared to do him a world of good Thursday in the Bridgestone Invitational.
With seven birdies and a 30-foot eagle putt, Furyk had a 7-under 63 for his best score ever at Firestone and a two-shot lead over Lee Slattery of England.
The conditions could not have been more ideal with sunshine, heat and very little wind, along with carpet for fairways and smooth greens. It showed in some of the tee shots on the South Course — 58 drives of at least 350 yards, and a 427-yarder by Branden Grace of South Africa — and mostly in the scoring.
Luke Donald, the world's No. 1 player, and Masters champion Bubba Watson were among those at 66. Thirty players in the 78-man field at this World Golf Championship managed to break par.
Tiger Woods was not among them. He was 3 under after back-to-back birdies to start the back nine, but had to lay up with his third shot on the par-5 16th after driving into the trees and ended his round with a three-putt bogey from 25 feet for a 70. It was his second-worst start at Firestone, a course where he has won seven times. The other was a 74 in 2010, his last week without a swing coach.
Since missing out on a chance to win the U.S. Open, Furyk has tied for 34th in two tournaments and missed two cuts, including last week in Canada. For a guy who is 15th in the Ryder Cup standings — even a win this week would not make him eligible for the U.S. team — this was no time to be stuck in neutral. So when he had another weekend off after rounds of 70-70 at the Canadian Open, he flew home for three days.
Defending champion Adam Scott, in his first tournament since making four straight bogeys to lose the British Open, had a four-putt from just inside 10 feet early in his round and shot 71. So did Phil Mickelson, while British Open champion Ernie Els had a 73.
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Andres Romero had seven birdies in a bogey-free first round at the Reno-Tahoe Open to take a one-point lead over South Korean rookie Seung-Yul Noh.
Romero, from Argentina, had 14 points under the modified Stableford scoring system that puts a premium on aggressive play. Players receive eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or worse. It's the first time the scoring system has been used on the PGA Tour since the 2006 International in Colorado.
The 21-year-old Noh had seven birdies and a bogey for 13 points at Montreux Golf & Country Club, where only Americans have won in the tourney's 13 previous years.
Josh Teater, John Mallinger and Ricky Barnes were tied for third with 11 points. John Daly had six birdies and two bogeys for 10 points to match Hunter Haas, J.J. Henry, Danny Lee and former UCLA star Patrick Cantlay.
Romero, who tied for second in the Memorial in June, won the PGA Tour's 2008 Zurich Classic and also has eight international victories. He birdied four of his first six holes and would have shot a 7-under 65 under a traditional stroke-play format.
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