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Tiger Woods stays optimistic despite first-round struggles at PGA

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

'I'm still right there,' says Tiger Woods, after a one-over 71 in the first round of the PGA Championship left him six strokes behind the leaders.

August 08, 2013|By K.C. Johnson
  • Tiger Woods watches his drive on the 11th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on Thursday.
Tiger Woods watches his drive on the 11th hole during the first round of the… (Derek Gee / Associated Press )

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — At least Tiger Woods' defiance is in major championship form.

"I'm still right there," Woods said after shooting a one-over 71 Thursday to trail Adam Scott and Jim Furyk by six strokes after first-round play in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

Woods carded two birdies in his first six holes but played the final 12 in three over. That included a bogey on the par-five fourth, Thursday's easiest hole, and a double-bogey six on the ninth, his final hole.

"Overall, I played really well," Woods said. "I just hit a bad iron shot there at No. 4 and didn't get up and down.

"At No. 9, I was completely blocked out and tried to shape one over there and drew no lie at all on the third shot. I was just trying to play 20 feet long and putt back for a bogey. I didn't even get over the bunker. I didn't have much there, then hit a beautiful putt that lipped out."

Woods missed a makable downhill birdie putt on the par-four second and said he would've taken more time to read the green if he and playing partners Davis Love III and Keegan Bradley hadn't been placed on the clock for slow play.

"We have a lot of people following us and a lot of cameras going off and movement inside the galleries," Woods said. "We're accustomed to it."

Memory lane

Friday marks the 25th anniversary of the Edmonton Oilers' stunning trade of Wayne Gretzky to the Kings. Conveniently, journeyman David Hearn, who grew up in Gretzky's hometown of Brantford, Canada, shot a 66 to earn media attention.

"It was certainly one of those events as a Canadian that nobody will forget," said Hearn, who was 9 at the time.

Hearn has met Gretzky several times, including at a Web.com Tour event the avid golfer Gretzky used to host.

"Wayne has been such a great inspiration for everybody in Canada, let alone Brantford," Hearn said. "He's incredibly humble for a guy that's been as successful as he has."

Up and down

Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion, hit just five of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation. But eight one-putts helped him finish with a one-under 69 despite three bogeys.

"I just didn't feel that comfortable over the ball, but I'm very proud of my score," Bradley said. "I hung in there. This is a tough course. I made some good pars coming down the end."

On the contrary, Matt Kuchar proved the picture of consistency and sits at three-under 67. Starting on the back nine, Kuchar, who has two victories this year, ground out eight straight pars to open his round, then birdied Nos. 18, 2 and 5 for a bogey-free round. He hit 11 of 14 fairways.

Etc.

Bo Van Pelt withdrew because of a hip injury after shooting a 10-over 80. ... The $8-million purse will deliver $1,445,000 to the champion, $865,000 to the runner-up, $15,000 to 70th place and $2,500 to those who don't make the cut.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

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