AUSTRALIAN golfer John Senden is just three shots off the pace in a tie for third after the first round of the 2012 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
American veteran Jim Furyk was a tear-away leader with seven birdies and a 30-foot eagle putt having him at 7-under on 63.
That was his best score ever at the Firestone Country Club in Ohio, where the limited 78 man field found conditions almost ideal on the first day of the lucrative event.
Furyk was two strokes ahead of English golfer Lee Slattery (65), with Senden one further back tied wth world No.1 Luke Donald, Masters champion Bubba Watson and three others who shot 66’s.
Geoff Ogilvy was the next best Aussie in a tie for ninth at three-under while defending champion Adam Scott, in his first tournament since his British Open mishap, had a four-putt from just inside 10 feet early in his round and shot 71. Jason Day was back after spending time with his newborn son and had to be satisfied with a 75.
Senden has threatened all year with patches of great golf and started strongly with is fifth birdie of the day on 13 giving him a share of the lead. Momentum changed when he dropped a shot on the 16th just as Furyk accelerated with his eagle.
“I feel like I was solid out there today,” Senden said. “I’ve gotten off to a good start, I drove the ball well and I tried to be aggressive out there. Now hopefully I can keep it flowing for three more days.”
Scott was generally happy with his first round performance, apart from some “spotty” putting. He has obviously been through some tumultuous times in the last two weeks since his four bogey finish at Royal Lytham.
Prior to the tournament this week in Akron, the 32 year old was still sounding amazingly positive.
”I really just felt a bit shocked and almost numb,” he said of the days after his first Major slipped through his fingers. ”But I certainly didn’t beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner.
”It’s disappointing, absolutely, and if I felt like that was my last chance I’d probably never play golf again. I’d be devastated, but all my chances are in front of me.
”For me, that might have been the proof that I need.”
He added: ”It was a great thing for my career, really, for me to know I can play that well in a major. ‘I’ve played so many and I’ve never played as good.
”I’ve changed my schedule a lot to try to make myself a contender in majors, and for 10 years I wasn’t.
“But the last two years I think my results have improved dramatically. That’s what we’re identified by at the end of our careers: how successful you were is how many majors you won.”2012 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational Leaderboard