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Notes Furyk Solid in Return

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Jim Furyk didn't know if he would get the chance to defend his U.S. Open title.
In January, an MRI revealed torn cartilage in his left wrist and he decided to have surgery to repair it. His first competitive round of golf since then was Thursday at Shinnecock Hills in the U.S. Open.
He shot a 2-over 72, not good enough to be among the leaders but good enough to make him sound optimistic about the rest of the week.
'I just didn't get the ball in the hole and I made some poor decisions out there. That'll happen. It'll come,' he said. 'I'll be back tomorrow to grind it out and try to put some of those putts in.'
As defending champion, Furyk played in the traditional group with British Open champion Ben Curtis, who had 68, and U.S. Amateur champion Nick Flanagan, who had an 80.
There wasn't a whole lot of pressure on Furyk as defending champion since only one player in that position since 1991 has managed to finish better than 40th. Tiger Woods was 12th in 2001 as defending champion and four others didn't even make the cut.
Furyk started with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, but the red number was gone with bogeys on two of the next three holes.
'I had the fast start, then made some bad mistakes,' he said. 'I got the good out of the way and the bad out of the way.'
Furyk said the round went as he expected, even having to rip a wedge out of the deep heather on the 14th hole.
'I knew I would have some bumps and bruises. I hit it in the rough my share, so the wrist felt good, actually felt better today than it has all week,' he said. 'I'm pretty darn happy with the physical side of my game. I hit a lot of fairways and greens, more than I would have expected a couple of weeks ago.'
Mark Calcavecchia wasn't making a fashion statement. He was helping his aching back.
'I saw Freddie's acupuncture lady last night,' Calcavecchia said, referring to fellow pro and back pain sufferer Fred Couples. 'My back wasn't as tight.'
The subject came up because Calcavecchia had two small needles in each ear, not misplaced jewelry but acupuncture pins to help with his lower back problem.
'When you hit them it hurts, other than that I don't notice them,' he said after shooting a 1-under 71, a round the 1989 British Open champion wasn't too pleased with.
'I hit the first six fairways and missed the last eight. I turned an 80 into a 71. I played awful. If there weren't 20 marshals and 5,000 fans on some of those holes I would have lost five balls today.
'It was just a struggle the last nine holes for sure. Those four or five lashes I took out of the heavy stuff on the back nine kind of took a toll on me. I'm ready to sit down.'
David Roesch felt rushed in his first round at a U.S. Open and wasn't too happy about it.
The 30-year-old mini-tour veteran had a 2-under 68 that came close to being a 69 or worse because of the USGA's pace of play policy.
'We were on the fourth, a par 4, I was in between clubs and a guy comes up to me and says `You've got a bad time. The next one's a shot,'' Roesch said, referring to a USGA official who informed the threesome individually they were behind the accepted pace of play. 'I don't know what's going on. I'm tying to play well. I'm a no-name and here comes this guy and tells me I have a bad time and we get to the next tee and we stand there. You tell me what's going on. I was mad. I don't know if I'll get in trouble for this.'
He won't.
USGA rules official Mary Bea Porter-King was with the group. She said they fell behind the pace and were told but it wasn't just Roesch.
'The group was behind and they were warned. There was no harm, no foul,' she said. 'He did rush his first putt and then made the second, which was key, and then we rush to the next tee and had to wait. His group, the one I was officiating, was out of position several times and it wasn't because of David's play. It was a mixture of things. I was concerned for him because he was playing so well and I didn't want him to get out of his rhythm.'
Roesch admitted he didn't know the policy and said he would talk to someone in the USGA about it so it wouldn't be an issue on Friday.
'I told him I would get him someone to talk to,' Porter-King said. 'He needs to understand how it's done.'
Under the USGA policy, a threesome has to play at a pace that would mean a round of no more than 4 hours and 32 minutes, while a twosome has to play at a pace of no longer than 3:55. Once a group has been warned, a player must play his stroke within 40 seconds. One bad timing is a warning, a second is a one-stroke penalty, a third an additional two strokes and a fourth means disqualification.
'Most kids can beat their dads but I can't beat mine,' Bill Haas, whose opening-round 73 was seven strokes behind Jay Haas, his father who was tied for the lead when play was suspended for the day.
Carlos Franco withdrew after playing 14 holes because of allergies. Franco, who was 9 over when he left the course, said the dust stirred up by the crowd caused his problem. ... ESPN and the USGA finalized a four-year extension through 2008. ESPN has been the exclusive cable partner of the USGA's U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open since 1982. ... When play resumed after a 2-hour, 12-minute weather delay, Spencer Levin, an amateur from Elk Grove, Calif., made a hole-on-one at the 179-yard 17th with an 8-iron. He finished with a 69 and was the day's low amateur.
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