The rain let up at soggy Oak Hill. Adam Scott kept right on rolling. The co-leader from the opening round pulled ahead of everyone else with another flurry of birdies Friday at the PGA Championship,taking advantage of a course softened even more by morning showers.
Scott,who opened with a 5-under 65,pushed his score to 7 under through 12 holes two shots clear of the field. He had four birdies,most notably sinking a 40-foot putt at the second,though a couple of bogeys kept him from stretching his lead even more.
The early starters had to break out the umbrellas and rain gear for showers that turned heavy at times,though the course seemed to be draining well and there no stoppage of play. For a while,the final major of the year looked more like a British Open.
In fact,Englands Luke Donald longed for the other side of the Atlantic. I much prefer the weather in the UK, he quipped,walking off the 10th green.
Really,he had no reason to complain. The dreary weather provided another chance to attack the soft greens that made Thursday seem more like a regular tour event than a test of major proportions.
No one took advantage like Webb Simpson. He was 7-under through his first 15 holes and making a run at the major championship scoring record before a bogey at the seventh his 16th hole of the round stemmed his momentum. No one has ever posted a round lower than 63 in one of golfs biggest events.
Still,the surge left the former U.S. Open winner just three strokes behind Scott,lumped in a group at 4 under that also included Lee Westwood,Martin Kaymer and David Hearn. The Aussie,starting on the back side,chipped in at No. 10 for a birdie that quickly gave him the outright lead on Jim Furyk,who also shot 65 on Thursday. The 43-year-old American had an afternoon tee time,when the weather was expected to turn sunny and remain that way through the rest of the weekend.
Many wondered if the PGA of America might try to boost Oak Hills defenses with tougher hole locations. The golf course can easily be protected with pins, Graeme McDowell said after opening with a 70. They can soon tuck these pins away and make this a difficult test.
On Day 1,Tiger Woods hardly looked a player capable of breaking an 0-for-17 drought in the majors since his 2008 triumph at the U.S. Open. The worlds top-ranked player closed with a double-bogey to finish with a 71 and went into Friday with a staggering 49 players standing between him and the top spot on the leaderboard. He figured to face a more-daunting challenge by the time he teed off in the afternoon.
Others ripped through a course that was there for the taking,the birdies falling into the cup at an alarming rate.
Scott strung together five in a row on the way to his opening 65. Furyk had a bogey-free round going until a stumble at the final hole left him with a 65 as well. Westwood and unheralded Canadian David Hearn shot 66,and a total of 35 players broke par. That compared to only 10 rounds in the 60s when the PGA Championship was at Oak Hill a decade ago. While Woods came in as the overwhelming favorite,Scott increasingly looks like a player who will add more major titles to the one he finally got in a Masters playoff back in April. (AP)
1. Adam Scott,-7; 2. Jim Furyk (through 4),Robert Garrigus (through 10). Justin Rose (-6),Jason Dufner (through 8) -6; 6. Matt Kuchar (through 7),-5; T 30. Rory McIlroy E; T 56. Tiger Woods (through 3) +2.