Congressional playing tough, not U.S. Open tough

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BETHESDA, Md. – When the 2011 U.S. Open was contested at Congressional Country Club, the leading score after the opening round was 65 and there were eight players in the 60s. With the opening round of the AT&T National played on the same course Thursday, the leading score was 66 and there were 12 in the 60s.

That’s not to say the course was playing like a U.S. Open venue, because the 2011 edition was an anomaly as far as that tournament is concerned. But it certainly wasn’t playing any easier than the rain-soaked conditions of two years earlier.

“I played with [Kevin] Chappell today, who played very well at the U.S. Open here,” said Roberto Castro, who shot that leading score of 66. “He said it's pretty much the same except the USGA puts pins three off the edge whereas we saw more four and five off the edge. Pretty similar setup, he said. Rough's the same. Golf course hasn't changed much in two years.”

Some, though, claim that it isn’t quite U.S. Open-tough this week.

“It's not U.S. Open, where you can't advance the ball, but it's difficult in spots,” said Jim Furyk, who missed the cut two years ago, but opened with a 69 on Thursday. “I'm a little surprised by the scoring, but also I know how difficult the golf course was. I think the scoring we saw at the U.S. Open here was very atypical of this golf course.”