Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson look to improve on Day 2 at PGA Championship.
By AP FeedFoxSports
With a steady rain falling at soggy Oak Hill, the PGA Championship looked more like a British Open at the start of the second round.
In fact, England's Luke Donald longed for the other side of the Atlantic.
''I much prefer the weather in the UK,'' he quipped, walking off the 10th green Friday morning.
With Adam Scott and Jim Furyk tied for the lead after 18 holes, play began under a gray sky and light showers. The rain soon picked up, bringing out plenty of umbrellas and leaving much-smaller crowds lining the fairways. Workers armed with squeegees stood ready to move in if there was any sign of standing water, but the course appeared to be draining well.
For the morning starters, at least, it was another chance to attack the soft greens that made Thursday seem more like a regular tour event than a test of major proportions.
Scott, starting on the back side, chipped in at No. 10 for a birdie that pushed his score to 6 under. Lee Westwood also got to 6 under with a pair of early birdies. Jason Day was at 5 under after making birdies on two of his first three holes, surging into a tie with Furyk, who had an afternoon tee time.
The weather was expected to clear around midday and remain sunny through the rest of the weekend. Many wondered if the PGA of America might try to boost the defenses with tougher hole locations the rest of the way.
''The golf course can easily be protected with pins,'' Graeme McDowell said after opening with an even-par 70. ''They can soon tuck these pins away and make this a difficult test.''
On Day 1, Tiger Woods hardly looked a player capable of breaking an 0-for-17 drought in the majors since his 2008 triumph at the U.S. Open.
He closed with a double-bogey to finish with a 1-over 71 and went into Friday's second round with a staggering 49 players standing between him and the top spot on the leaderboard.
''The round, realistically, could've been under par easily,'' conceded Woods, who came in with five victories this season, including a seven-shot runaway last week at the Bridgestone.
Others took full advantage of a course that was very much there for the taking, the birdies falling into the cup at an alarming rate.
Scott ripped off five in a row on the way to an opening 65. Furyk had a bogey-free round going until a stumble at the final hole left him with a 65 as well. Westwood and unheralded Canadian David Hearn shot 66, and a total of 35 players broke par.
That compares to only 10 rounds in the 60s when the PGA Championship was at Oak Hill a decade ago.
While Woods came in as the overwhelming favorite, Scott increasingly looks like a player who will add more major titles to the one he finally got in a Masters playoff back in April.
Just three weeks ago, he had the Sunday lead on the back nine at Muirfield before fading. In the last major of the year, there were times he looked unstoppable.
''Just got on a bit of a roll and hit a few shots close,'' Scott said. ''I didn't have too much putting to do. You've got to take advantage when it happens, because it doesn't happen too much in the majors. Nothing to complain about in 65.''
The Aussie was on pace to tie the major championship record at Oak Hill until a three-putt bogey on the 16th. But he closed on a high after an errant drive, rolling in a 15-footer to save par at the 18th.
Furyk, who won his lone major at the U.S. Open in 2003 at Olympia Fields, has gone nearly three years since his last win at the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup and win PGA Tour player of the year. Still fresh are four close calls from a year ago, including the U.S. Open.
He was as steady as Scott, rarely putting himself in trouble until the end of the round. Furyk missed the fairway to the right and had to pitch out because of thick rough and trees blocking his way to the green. That led to his only bogey, but still his lowest first-round score in 19 appearances at the PGA Championship.
Still seeking his first major at age 40, Westwood posted his best score ever in the PGA and seemed to have no hangover from losing a 54-hole lead in the British Open last month.
Even Rory McIlroy got in on the act. The defending champion, at the end of a major season that has been a major disappointment, came out firing with three birdies on the opening four holes and made the turn in 32 until back-to-back bogeys. He wound up with a 69.
British Open champion Phil Mickelson wound up with the same score as Woods, only they arrived at 71 on vastly different roads. Woods had only two birdies. Mickelson shot 71 despite two double bogeys.
On the par-5 fourth hole, Lefty hooked his tee shot out of bounds and nearly lost the next tee shot in the same place. ''Awful,'' he surmised. On the closing hole, Mickelson looked as if he were back at Winged Foot - wild left off the tees, a reckless attempt to get through the trees, and another double bogey.
He headed straight to the practice range, even summoning coach Butch Harmon down from the television booth.
''Now,'' he said, ''I've got to come out (Friday) and get a little more aggressive and try to shoot something in the mid to low 60s to get back in it for the weekend.''