Published January 13, 2015
After breaking through for his first major championship victory earlier this year, Adam Scott has carried that momentum through the year.
Scott saved par on the final hole Thursday to post a 5-under 65 and join Jim Furyk in the lead after the first round of the 95th PGA Championship.
Furyk carded his 65 in the morning, while Scott was in the middle of the afternoon wave. The latter group managed to conclude their opening round despite a 70-minute weather delay due to lightening in the area.
Lee Westwood, who shared third in 2009, carded a 4-under 66 and was joined in third place by David Hearn, who is playing in his first PGA Championship.
World No. 6 Matt Kuchar carded a 3-under 67 on the East Course at Oak Hill Country Club and he was part of a group tied for fifth place. He stands alongside Robert Garrigus, Paul Casey, Marcus Fraser, Scott Piercy and U.S. Open runner-up Jason Day.
Americans Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and Bill Haas as well as 2010 PGA champ Martin Kaymer and reigning U.S. Open winner Justin Rose are among 11 players that shared 11th place at minus-2.
Four-time champion Tiger Woods stumbled to a double-bogey on the ninth, his last to card a 1-over 71. Also at plus-1 after round one was British Open winner Phil Mickelson. The top two players in the world rankings both double bogeyed their final holes on Thursday.
Woods had two birdies on the back nine, his opening nine in round one. On the front side, he bogeyed the par-5 fourth. At the ninth, Woods dumped his third shot into a greenside bunker, then blasted onto the green. He 2-putted for a closing double bogey.
"On nine, I was completely blocked out and tried to shape one over there and I drew no lie at all for my third shot," Woods explained. "And I was just trying to play it 20 feet long and putt back and try and just get bogey. I didn't even get over the bunker. Came out of nowhere. Didn't really have much from there, hit a beautiful putt that just lipped out."
Mickelson tripped to a bogey on the third and followed with a double bogey on No. 4. He birdied the ninth, then followed with three birdies in the next five holes to jump into red figures at minus-1.
The 2005 PGA Champion drove his tee shot on 18 well left into the trees. He tried to play a miracle shot through the trees, but hit one of them. He pitched his third to the fairway and found the green with his fourth. Like Woods, Mickelson 2-putted for a closing double-bogey.
"I was fighting for five, but ended up with a six, so didn't lose much," said Mickelson. "I was under par for a little while and it was a fight to get there."
Scott beat Angel Cabrera in a playoff earlier this year at Augusta to claim his first major championship. After struggling at the U.S. Open, Scott rallied into the lead during the final round of the British Open. However, for the second straight year, Scott bogeyed four in a row to lose the lead.
The Australian used a much different run on Thursday to gain a piece of the lead. Scott started with three pars in a row. Unlike the top two players in the world, the world No. 5 birdied the par-5 fourth.
Scott followed with birdies on each of the next four holes as he soared into a share of the lead. He stood at minus-5 through eight holes, and all sorts of records were within his reach.
After five pars in a row, and the 70-minute weather delay, Scott grabbed the lead by himself with a birdie on the 14th. However, he stumbled to a bogey on the 16th, then parred the last two holes to end alongside Furyk.
"Just got on a bit of a roll and hit a few shots close. I didn't have too much putting to do," Scott said. "You've got to take advantage when it happens, because it doesn't happen too much in the majors. Nothing to complain about in 65."
Furyk, who hasn't had a top 10 at the PGA Championship since 2002 at Hazeltine, started his round with a birdie on the 10th. After five pars in a row, he birdied the 16th.
The 2003 U.S. Open champion converted back-to-back birdie chances at 18 and one to move to minus-4. Furyk was the first to minus-6 as he birdied the fourth and seventh, but he closed with a bogey on No. 9 to end at minus-5.
"Obviously, I'm pleased with the round. Just looking through the stats here, which I don't usually look at, but I'm just happy with the round," said Furyk. "Really felt in control this morning. It was nice to get off to a good start with a birdie on No. 10. Knocked in a nice putt from about six feet, knocked in a good par putt on 11. Got off to a good start with the putter."
Defending champion Rory McIlroy carded a 1-under 69. Among those he is tied with were Sergio Garcia, 2011 PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson and 2012 British Open titlist Darren Clarke.
Two-time PGA Champion Vijay Singh, Ian Poulter, 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan and 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell were all five off the lead at even-par.
Among those at plus-1 with Woods and Mickelson were former PGA winners Rich Beem and David Toms as well as 2011 Masters champ Charl Schwartzel and Luke Donald.
Dustin Johnson, Matteo Manassero and Webb Simpson shot 2-over 74, while Ernie Els and Davis Love III were tied for 108th at plus-4.
NOTES: Furyk's 65 was his lowest opening round score in 19 PGA Championship appearances ... This is the third time Furyk has had a piece of the 18-hole lead in a major championship, but it was the first time since the 2002 PGA Championship ... The only other time Scott led after one round in a major was in 2012 at the British Open ... J.J. Henry, who replaced the injured Mark Brooks in the field, opened with a 71 ... Shaun Micheel, who won at Oak Hill in 2003, struggled to a 6-over 76 ... Bo Van Pelt struggled to a 10-over 80 in round one, then withdrew with a hip injury.