PITTSFORD, N.Y. — With every major, Adam Scott is making a convincing case that he isn't satisfied with just a green jacket.
Scott ran off five straight birdies early in his round at soft and vulnerable Oak Hill, and finished with a 15-foot par for a 5-under 65 that gave him a share of the lead Thursday with Jim Furyk in the PGA Championship.
Scott finally became a major champion at Augusta National in April when he won a playoff at the Masters. Just three weeks ago, he had the lead on the back nine at Muirfield in the British Open until he made four bogeys to fall back. In the last major of the year, Scott at times looked unstoppable.
His five straight birdies quickly put him atop the leaderboard with Furyk, and after a 71-minute delay when storms moved into the area, Scott added a sixth birdie on the par-3 15th to reach 6 under. He was on pace to tie the major championship record at Oak Hill until a three-putt bogey on the 16th.
"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."
David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., an alternate until a week ago, had a 66 in the morning. Less than a month after losing in a playoff at the John Deere Classic for his best finish on the PGA Tour, Hearn was preaching patience, a trait that has served the 34-year-old well in the bigger picture.
“My career has always had a certain progression, and I’ve always found a way to get competitive at the next level that I’ve been to,” he said. “For me right now, it’s just a matter of trying to continue that on, and as I’ve been on the PGA Tour for a few years now, I’ve gotten better at playing well in the bigger events.”
Hearn bogeyed the first and last holes Thursday but otherwise successfully attacked the course with his driver, taking advantage of softer greens in the morning after overnight rain.
Also at 66 was Lee Westwood, who had his best score ever in the PGA and offered evidence that there was no hangover from losing a 54-hole lead in the British Open last month.
Graham DeLaet from Weyburn, Sask., the only other Canadian in the field, fought back with five birdies over his final nine holes to post an even par 70.
There were hardly any complaints on Oak Hill, a course that has yielded only 10 72-hole scores under par in five previous majors. It's only Thursday, and the players felt as if they got off easy. Rain overnight and humid conditions kept the course soft, and birdies were dropping at an alarming pace.
Except for Tiger Woods.
The world's No. 1 player made only two birdies despite playing in the still of the morning, and he watched his round fall apart with a bogey on par-5 fourth and a double bogey on his final hole when his flop shot out of a deep rough floated into a bunker. Woods had a 71, not a bad start at Oak Hill, except on this day.
There were 35 rounds under par, compared with only a dozen rounds in the 60s when the PGA Championship was here 10 years ago.
"The round realistically could have been under par easily," Woods said.
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 the 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.
"Usually disappointed with ending the day on a bogey," Furyk said. "But you know, 65, PGA, is not so bad."
Follow us on Twitter: