Furyk Jumps into Lead in Westchester


HARRISON, N.Y. -- Jim Furyk fired a 6-under-par 65 on Thursday to take a three-shot lead after the opening round of the Barclays Classic at Westchester Country Club.
Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh had one eagle, five birdies and four bogeys in the first round.
Vijay Singh, Kenny Perry, John Rollins, Brian Bateman, Ian Leggatt and Hidemichi Tanaka share second place at 3-under-par 68.
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, broke into red figures early with a 10-foot birdie putt at the third. He added another at the par-5 fifth when his 3-wood came up 20 yards short of the putting surface. Furyk chipped to 2 feet and converted the birdie try.
At the par-5 ninth, Furyk hit his third shot to 20 feet. Unfortunately, the man who is ranked 14th on the PGA Tour in putting, three-putted for a bogey.
Furyk rebounded from the miscue at nine. He rolled in a 3-footer for birdie at the 10th and made it two in a row with an 8-footer at the 11th. Furyk parred 12, then at 13 he hit a pitching-wedge to 12 feet to set up birdie.
Furyk parred his next three holes, but closed strong. He knocked a pitching-wedge to 3 feet to set up birdie at 17. Furyk hit driver off the tee at the par-5 closing hole, then laid up with a 3-iron. The former U.S. Open winner played a sand-wedge to 8 feet and drained the birdie putt to take the three-shot lead.
'Overall I'm pleased with the day and anxious to get out there tomorrow and try to get after it again,' said Furyk, who tied for 28th last week at Pinehurst No. 2. 'I'm just going to go out tomorrow and play the round from scratch again, starting from even par tomorrow and try to shoot a round tomorrow, see where it puts me for Saturday's round and go out and do it again. It's so early in the tournament, whether I'm ahead, behind, doesn't really matter.'
Furyk is fully healed from wrist surgery last year. He has not won since, but the four-time Ryder Cup member thinks he's ready to return to the winner's circle.
'It takes a while to build confidence where you go out and you play a good round and you play a good tournament and you have a good, solid month and you have a good, solid six months, you have a good solid year,' said Furyk. 'I don't view myself as really coming back from anything now. It was last year, it's over. Same player I was before. I expect myself to play at a high level and I expect myself to compete to win golf tournaments. That's what I'm trying to do.'
Singh was even-par on his round as he played his ninth, the par-5 18th. He eagled that hole then mixed three birdies and two bogeys on his back nine to shoot 68.
The No. 2 player in the world was happy with his round, but disgruntled about the pace of play. Each round took close to five-and-a-half hours and Singh admitted that ruined his rhythm.
'It's ridiculous, I mean, you play a round of golf in five hours and wait on every shot,' said Singh. 'Every shot out there on the front nine, you had to wait. You get fed up with it. I don't know if anyone ever withdrew after nine holes for slow play.'
Perry, a two-time winner so far in 2005, was three-under through nine holes thanks to an eagle at No. 9. Perry bogeyed 12 and 13 to fall down the leaderboard, but rebounded with a pair of birdies in his final three holes to get into a tie for second.
Fred Funk, the winner of The Players Championship, Patrick Sheehan, J.L. Lewis, John Senden, Brian Gay and Joe Ogilvie are tied for eighth place at 2-under-par 69.
Ryan Moore, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, is making his debut as a professional this week and his pro career got off to a decent start. He shot an even-par 71 and is tied for 28th.
'That was a nice way to start,' said Moore, who birdied his first hole as a professional. 'I felt great out there today. I didn't feel any different. I made a few poor swings, but I felt like I was really close all day long, on the verge of playing some really good golf. So, looking forward to the next few days.'
Defending champion Sergio Garcia, who tied for third last week at the U.S. Open, carded a 1-over-par 72 and shares 40th place.
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