Menu

GOLF

Furyk leads Bridgestone Invitational

Jim Furyk fired a 7-under-par 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

Little-known Lee Slattery of England posted a 5-under 65 and is second at the South Course at Firestone Country Club.

World No. 1 Luke Donald, who tied for second last year, and reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson headline a group tied for third place at 4-under 66.

It wasn't a great finish on Thursday for 7-time champion Tiger Woods.

The world No. 2 was 3-under through 11 holes, but bogeyed three holes on his back nine, including No. 18, to post an even-par 70.

Woods pinpointed exactly what ailed him on Thursday.

"I just hit bad putts today. I hit bad putts," said Woods. "My speed was off. The putts that I pured, I didn't make. And then the bad putts didn't have a chance."

Defending champion Adam Scott was a little worse on Thursday.

He shot a 1-over 71 in his first competitive round since he bogeyed the last four holes on Sunday two weeks ago to lose The Open Championship by a stroke to Ernie Els.

The Open Champion had a 3-over 73 in round one.

Everyone is chasing the runner-up to Woods in 2001.

Furyk started on the 10th tee Thursday and promptly rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt at No. 10. He followed that up with a short birdie putt at the 11th, but dropped a shot at the par-3 12th when he 3-putted from around 40 feet.

Furyk appeared to be in trouble at the 13th. He came up short with his approach at the par-4 hole, but drained an 8-footer to stay under par.

After two more pars, Furyk got back to 2-under par with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 16th. He caught fire with the flat stick with a 23-footer for birdie at 17 and a 17-footer for birdie at 18.

Furyk made the turn at 3-under par, then picked up another great par save at No. 1. His second landed on the fringe, but he managed to get it up and down.

At the par-5 second, Furyk reached in two, then ran home his 27-foot eagle try. He reached 6-under par and got to minus-7 with a 4-foot birdie putt at the fourth.

Furyk parred the next two holes and found problems at another par-3, this time the seventh. His tee ball landed in a greenside bunker and the best could he do was blast it out to nine feet. Furyk missed the par putt and was back to 6- under.

Furyk atoned for the error at seven very quickly. He holed an 8-foot birdie putt at the eighth, then parred his last after he missed the green.

"I gave myself a lot of good opportunities, good angles into pins, hit some crisp, good iron shots, hit some close where I had three or four very short birdie putts, and it was nice to see some putts go in today and knocked in some birdie putts," said Furyk, who played in the final group Sunday at the U.S. Open before he tied for fourth.

This is an important couple of weeks for Furyk. He is on the outside looking for one of the eight automatic U.S. Ryder Cup spots and has this week and next week's PGA to try and make his eighth team.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't on my mind and it hadn't crossed my mind. I know exactly where I stand. I'm 14th in points," said Furyk, who is actually 15th in the points. "And I've played on the last seven teams. Eventually in my career I'm going to miss playing on those teams, and I'm hoping it's not this year."

Ben Crane, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Simon Dyson and John Senden joined Donald and Watson in third at minus-4.

PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, Sergio Garcia, Jason Dufner, Louis Oosthuizen, Geoff Ogilvy, Retief Goosen, Carl Pettersson, K.T. Kim and reigning FedExCup champion Bill Haas are knotted in ninth at 3-under 67.

NOTES: Phil Mickelson shot a 1-over 71 on Thursday...Rory McIlroy had an even- par 70.