Furyk streaks ahead in Ohio

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Jim Furyk shot a seven-under par 63 to hold a two-shot lead after the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

Jim Furyk shot a seven-under par 63 to hold a two-shot lead after the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

Having missed the cut in two of the last three tournaments he’s played in, Furyk was back in the groove at the Firestone Country Club on Thursday.

The American began the tournament on the back nine and notched up five birdies and a bogey to take the turn in 31. An eagle on the second was followed by two birdies and a bogey to put Furyk in a commanding position.

“I think more than anything I needed a little time to clear my head,” Furyk told the official PGA Tour website of his recent troubles.

“It wasn’t anything that was going wrong, (but) why I wasn’t playing better. I just felt like I needed to come in here and quit concentrating on trying to be so mechanically sound and just go play some golf and try to score and get the ball in the hole a little bit. It worked today. I did a lot better job of scoring.

“It’s been a while since I made seven birdies and an eagle in a round,” he added. “So it was a lot of fun.”

Three shots adrift is Lee Slattery who, having also started on the back nine, put a run of four birdies together from the first to the fourth.

The Englishman’s round of 65 sees him one shot clear of a group of six players that includes world number one Luke Donald and Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Three bogeys in the closing six holes saw Tiger Woods end the day on even par where he is joined by a number of illustrious names who also couldn’t quite get their rounds going.

Like Woods, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell all shot opening rounds of 70.

Woods was left to lament some poor putting in the closing stages.

“I was 3-under par. I mean, that’s not that bad,” he said. “At the time I was three back of the lead and hadn’t made a thing. I thought that was a good sign. Unfortunately, finished awful and here we are.”

Defending champion Adam Scott, playing in his first tournament since losing out at The Open, could only muster a 71. Ernie Els, the man who pipped Scott to the Championship title, struggled to a 73.

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