Kim surges clear

Anthony Kim got his AT&T National title defence off to the best possible start in Maryland, but Tiger Woods is right on his tail.

Anthony Kim got his AT&T National title defence off to the best possible start at Congressional Country Club but will have tournament host Tiger Woods right on his tail going into Friday’s second round.
American Kim shot a course-record, eight-under-par, bogey-free 62 on Thursday to set an early target for the late-starting world number one and then saw Woods post a 64 to take a share of second place overnight.
Woods was making up for lost time having missed last year’s second edition of his own event, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation and honours US servicemen and women, due to injury.
Playing alongside Charley Hoffman and Lucas Glover, the man who succeeded him as US Open champion at Bethpage Black 10 days ago, Woods sent down seven birdies and one bogey on the par-70, 7,255-yard Blue Course for a 64 to match fellow Americans DA Points and Bryce Molder.
Veteran Australian Steve Elkington put himself in contention with a 65, while England’s Justin Rose put bad recent form behind him, having missed three cuts in succession, with a three-under 67 that leaves him five shots behind Kim in a tie for ninth.
A Ryder Cup hero for the US at Valhalla last September, Kim has struggled with injuries all year and he admitted earlier this week his confidence had been at rock bottom after missing the cut at The Players Championship in early May.
Yet he has turned a corner recently with a tie for 16th at the US Open two weeks ago and last week’s tie for 11th at the Travelers Championship.
That improvement continued at Congressional as Kim, starting early and playing the back nine first, made the turn at two under with a 33 and came home with six birdies in 28. He even missed a birdie putt at the last, the par-five ninth, but had the luxury of a tap-in for par and a 62.
“It was a good day,” Kim said. “I really thought my way around the course.
“I did a good job of picking some intermediate targets and some better lines than we have been this whole year and I think that’s what has led to the good play.
“It’s been a tough year, it really has. The injuries have not allowed me to swing the way I wanted to and we’re finally getting to that point where I can.
“So I’m looking forward to keeping the ball in play and making a couple of putts.”
Glover had kept pace with Woods early on to get to three under after seven holes but, having continued playing following his Bethpage Black heroics, the American struggled with three bogeys and one birdie on the back nine to finish with a 69.
England’s Brian Davis and Scotland’s Martin Laird were both at level par after shooting 70s but world number three Paul Casey’s recent troubles continued as he shot a five-over 75 having missed the cut at the US Open, as did fellow Englishman Greg Owen.
(USA unless stated, par 70):

62 Anthony Kim
64 D.A. Points, Tiger Woods, Bryce Molder
65 Steve Elkington (Aus)
66 Daniel Chopra (Swe), Jim Furyk, Stuart Appleby (Aus)
67 Rodney Pampling (Aus), Michael Allen, Justin Rose (Eng), Boo Weekley, Y.E. Yang (Kor)
68 Danny Lee (Nzl), Michael Letzig, Bart Bryant, Tim Petrovic, Cameron Beckman, Brandt Snedeker
69 Jeff Overton, Steve Flesch, Jeff Quinney, Lucas Glover, Joe Ogilvie, Davis Love III, Harrison Frazar, Tom Pernice Jnr., Hunter Mahan, Kevin Stadler, Sean O’Hair, Dean Wilson, Ryan Palmer, Bo Van Pelt, Ryuji Imada (Jpn), Troy Matteson, Ryan Moore
70 Nick Watney, Bill Lunde, Robert Garrigus, Matt Bettencourt, James Driscoll, John Mallinger, Chez Reavie, Vijay Singh (Fij), Marc Leishman (Aus), Martin Laird (Sco), Brian Davis (Eng), Pat Perez, Chris DiMarco, Cliff Kresge, Mark Wilson, Kevin Streelman, Peter Lonard (Aus), Ricky Barnes, George McNeill, Notah Begay III, Rocco Mediate
71 Charley Hoffman, John Senden (Aus), Matt Hill, James Nitties (Aus), Nick O’Hern (Aus), Parker McLachlin, Fred Funk, Kevin Na, Jeff Klauk, Nathan Green (Aus), Mike Weir (Can), David Mathis, Marc Turnesa, Nicholas Thompson
72 Chris Riley, Aron Price (Aus), Paul Azinger, Charles Howell III, Jason Bohn, Brad Adamonis, Scott McCarron, Jason Dufner, Eric Axley, Fred Couples, Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Richard S Johnson (Swe), Jeff Maggert, Mathew Goggin (Aus), Robert Allenby (Aus), Rich Beem, Corey Pavin, Olin Browne, Johnson Wagner
73 Charles Warren, Tim Herron, Ted Purdy, Todd Hamilton, Scott Piercy, Alex Cejka (Ger), Charlie Wi (Kor), Steve Marino, Bob Estes, Paul Goydos
74 Brendon De Jonge, Chris Stroud, Billy Mayfair, Lee Janzen, Steve Lowery, Billy Horschel, Webb Simpson
75 Vaughn Taylor, Bill Haas, Paul Casey (Eng), Greg Kraft, Greg Owen (Eng)
76 J J Henry, John Merrick, Jason Day (Aus), Jason Gore
77 Brett Quigley, K J Choi (Kor)
78 Will MacKenzie
WD: Bubba Watson