ADAM Scott and Jason Day have snatched first and second spots after the opening round of the 2011 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
Out early, Day fired a sensational bogey–free 7-under par 63 to lead the field by three strokes for much of the day.
That was till Scott came up with an even better performance in the afternoon to overtake his younger rival in his closing stages to finish with an 8-under 62.
The nearest challenger, in what is essentially an invitational tournament featuring many of the world’s best golfers, was American Nick Watney with a 5-under 65, three behind Scott.
The opening day of the tournament, at the Firestone Country Club in
Akron, Ohio, also saw the return to golf of Tiger Woods – not a bad first outing that featured his first birdie in four months (since the US Masters).
Scott put on a great show, displaying his new found talent with the long putter, his usual faultless swing and crisp ball striking, and what looks to be a growing success with his new caddie Steve Williams.
“I’ve said a couple times already about Steve, I think he really understands how to manage a game well around the golf course. That was one of the first things that was really obvious to me,” Scott said.
Scott said he was very happy with his game and had been surprised but unperturbed to see Day’s score before he hit off.
“I was surprised. I actually saw that when I got on the first tee because there was a leaderboard right there, and I thought 7 under was pretty low. But you know, there were so many other good scores. I knew if I could play well and get that putter going today, there was a good score out there for me.”
Day played with Phil Mickelson for the first time in front of a huge gallery and stamped his mark on the tournament immediately by putting his opening tee shot on the par three tenth a metre from the hole
“I hit driver well and hit a lot of good quality iron shots into the greens,” the new world No.8 said, commenting that he was playing “boring “ golf to score well.
“I didn’t stomp it all day, but I hit it to a good 15 to 20 feet all day. My putter was good all day. I hit a lot of good quality putts and felt it was a boring kind of a game.
“It was down the middle, on the green, and every two or three holes was a birdie which was nice.
“But I’ll take a boring seven-under all the time.”
Woods, bound for the 2011 Australian Open in Sydney this year, looked to be playing with much improved tempo an rhythm and to have some of his old mojo with the putter back.
“The amount of progress I made in my golf swing,” he said after finishing with a 2-under 68. “The amount of compression I had in the golf ball, the shots I was hitting. I was hitting proper shots out there, and the distances I was hitting the golf ball. I hadn’t hit the ball like this. This was fun, to be able to hit the ball with that much flush feeling through the golf ball and speed I had. It was pretty nice.”
Of the other Australians, Geoff Ogilvy and Aaron Baddeley are still well in the mix after posting solid two-under-par 68s.
Richard Green had an up and down round with six birdies countered by five bogeys for a 1-under 69 while Robert Allenby carded an even-par 70.
Stuart Appleby’s struggles continued with a three-over 73 leaving him tied 64th in the 76 player field.
2011 WGC Bridgestone Invitational Leaderboard and TV Times
The 2011 WGC Bridgestone Invitational is being broadcast in Australia on ONE HD on the Ten Network.
1st Round Friday 4am to 8am; 2nd Round Saturday 4am to 8am; 3rd Round Sunday 2am to 8am; Final Round Monday 2am to 3.30am; 4am to 8am.2011 WGC Bridgestone Invitational Live Leaderboard