By Ann Liguori
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The East Course at Oak Hill is a classic. The Donald Ross-designed course has hosted seven major championships through the years and continues to shine as majestic oak trees, narrow, meandering fairways, small greens and thick rough present a subtle but challenging test.
And how ironic it is that on such a classic course as Oak Hill, two players with completely different swings — Adam Scott, with his classic, perfect swing and Jim Furyk, with his very unorthodox style — would be tied for the lead at 5-under after the first round, both taking advantage of the soft conditions and shooting 65s.
The Masters champ drained five straight birdies on the front and admitted the weather delay interrupted his momentum but with six birdies over-all and only one bogie (on the 16th), Scott made a clutch putt for a par save on the 18th and is in excellent position.
Their 65s tied Chad Campbell for the low round posted in a PGA Championship at Oak Hill. (Campbell finished runner-up in 2003 after shooting a 65 in the third round.)
The 65 is Furyk’s lowest first-round score in a major championship.
It’s great to see the 2003 U.S. Open champ’s name at the top of the leaderboard. Furyk is too good and has been in contention too often not to have won more majors (despite his painful looking swing!)
Canadian David Hearn, who grew up a few doors down from Wayne Gretzky in Ontario, and Lee Westwood are only one stroke behind.
Americans Robert Garrigus, Matt Kuchar and Scott Piercy are among a group only two shots back.
Rory McIlroy came out of the gate with three birdies in four holes but four bogies stifled his five birdies and at 1-under, he’s four shots back.
Phil Mickelson stormed back into contention after the rain delay with three birdies in four holes to start the back but a double bogie on the finishing hole shook him and sent him to the practice range after his round.
Tiger also doubled his last hole (the par-four 9th) and exited the premises, exasperated with himself although his 71 was his best score ever at Oak Hill.
The top two players in the game are still very much in this.
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