FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Bethpage Black was no match for the PGA Tour’s greatest on Thursday of The Barclays, as the field painted the leaderboard red.
Thursday's scoring average was 71.17 with 51 of 123 players breaking par and another 22 matching it on the Black Course today.
Padraig Harrington, in a last-minute effort to qualify for the Ryder Cup, posted a red-hot 7-under 64 and holds a one-shot lead over Nick Watney and Brian Harman, both in at 6 under.
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald highlight a group at 3 under. Rory McIlroy was one shot back of that after a 2-under 69.
Woods said the course played easier Thursday than in the past when it's held the U.S. Open – in 2002 and 2009.
'I was surprised that some of the pins, how much easier they were, because we're used to seeing them tucked over there three or four (paces) from the side or up against the back sides or just over ridges, Woods said. 'They gave us plenty of room, and when you get soft greens like this with plenty of room, the guys are going to tear it apart.'
Sergio Garcia, fresh off a victory at last week's Wyndham Championship, felt the course played a lot like he remembered it at the '09 U.S. Open.
“It’s funny how if it says ‘U.S. Open’ in front, it seems to play harder just because of that than if it’s a normal PGA Tour event, because I don’t think it’s playing that different to what it was maybe in (the U.S. Open in) 2009,” Garcia said.