Forget past, Furyk leads Firestone

golf: Veteran breaks out of rough stretch with 7-under round at WGC-Bridgestone

McClatchy news servicesAugust 3, 2012 

Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, is one of the grand old stalwarts of professional golf, which is just fine with Jim Furyk. With a 42 on the age line of his bio, he is old enough to appreciate what he calls the course’s “classic older architecture.” With a 63 on his scorecard Thursday, he proved he is young enough to play well anywhere.

Furyk’s 7-under-par opening round in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational occurred at just the right time. It hasn’t been an awful season. It just has not been awfully satisfying. He lost the U.S. Open lead on the final holes, he couldn’t quite get anything going at the British Open (tied for 34th), and he missed the cut at the Canadian Open.

What’s more, he loves playing for the United States in the Ryder Cup, which he has done seven times. He might not have too many more shots at it, and he needs two really good weeks – this tournament and the PGA Championship next week – to make the squad.

“I’d be lying if I said it isn’t on my mind,” he said. “But I’m also wise enough to know the only way to take care of business is to really focus on golf, and the next shot and the next round – kind of forget about it and just try to play as well as I can and let those things work themselves out.”

Furyk is two up on England’s Lee Slattery after a day when most golfers scored well. That group did not include Tiger Woods, a seven-time winner here, who was 3 under through 11 holes but made bogeys on three of his final six to finish at par, tied for 31st.

Defending champion Adam Scott, in his first tournament since losing a late lead in the British Open, four-putted from just inside 10 feet on an early hole and shot 71.

ELSEWHERE

Andres Romero had seven birdies in a bogey-free first round at the Reno-Tahoe Open to take a one-point lead over South Korean rookie Seung-Yul Noh. Romero had 14 points under the modified Stableford scoring system. … Olympia’s Andres Gonzales and University Place’s Michael Putnam carded 2-under 69s and were seven shots off the lead after the first round of the Web.com Tour’s Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb. … Robby Shelton of Wilmer, Ala., shot a course-record 8-under 64 to take the third-round lead in the Junior PGA Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind., and defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Samantha Wagner of Windermere, Fla., were tied at 9 under for the top spot in the girls division.

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