Friday, October 31

Furyk, Funk catch fire to grab lead


CHASKA, Minn. -- Tiger Woods' opening tee shot in the PGA Championship went according to plan, a piercing 2-iron in the middle of the fairway.

Thursday at Hazeltine
HOLE OF THE DAY: No. 16. Aside from Daly's 11, there were 25 other scores of double-bogey or worse. The 402-yard par 4 played to an average of 4.711. Fewer than four of 10 players reached the green in regulation. It wasn't so bad for England's Greg Owen, however. He holed a 140-yard 7-iron from the fairway for an eagle.

DALY DOINGS: As long as John Daly is playing majors, the unbelievable is just around the corner. The 1991 PGA champ hit his first two balls into the water on the 16th hole and took an 11, jumping from even par to 7-over. But instead of sulking, Daly rallied with four birdies on his final nine holes and is at 5-over. Aside from his 11, Daly was 2-under for the round.

For the record: It isn't Daly's worst hole of his career. He had an 18 several years ago at Bay Hill, when he hit six balls into the water.

SHARK ATTACK:: Greg Norman, second twice in the PGA, was 2-under and on the first page of the leaderboard when play was stopped. He's played 15 holes.

MONTY UPDATE: Colin Montgomerie shot 74. "I had one birdie and that wasn't enough," he said. "I had a lot of chances. Didn't make them."

PLAYING WITH THE BIG BOYS: Sean Farren shot the low round of the day among the 25 club pros with a 2-over 74. Farren is the head pro at Totteridge Golf Club in Greensburg, Pa.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "For the most part, we are just second-fiddle to those guys." -- Defending champion David Toms, whose drives were always short while playing with long-hitting Tiger Woods and Ernie Els.
-- David Kraft

He was walking toward his ball when a siren sounded. He wasn't sure what it meant until he turned and saw black clouds gathering on the horizon, signaling a storm delay that lasted nearly three hours.

''It did surprise me that they blew the horn,'' he said.

Woods wasn't the only one surprised after an unusual opening round in the final major championship of the season.

Jim Furyk, who had missed the cut in the three previous majors, had a 4-under 68 for a share of the lead. Joining him was Fred Funk, who didn't even qualify for the Masters, U.S. Open or British Open.

John Daly had a 77, with 11 of those coming on one hole, the par-4 16th.

David Toms started the day as the defending champion and ended it feeling a bit overmatched in the presence of Woods (71) and Ernie Els (72). He had a 77, and was in danger of missing the cut.

Phil Mickelson, in his last chance this year to finally win a major, found the cup to be even more elusive. He missed two putts inside 4 feet and was at 3-over par when darkness draped Hazeltine National Golf Club as he got to his 16th hole.

Thirty-nine players had to return Friday morning to finish their rounds, with only Greg Norman and Retief Goosen in position to catch the leaders. Norman was 2 under with three holes to play, and Goosen was 2 under with four holes left, including a par 5.

Furyk and Funk are neighbors in Florida who have more than a zip code in common. They shared the lead in the year's final major, after botching the first three.

''It's been a good year and a frustrating year, all in one,'' said Furyk, who became a father this summer.

For Funk it was worse. He didn't even qualify for the first three majors.

''I knew I was going to get in one of them,'' he said with a smile.

Funk certainly made the most of it on what turned out to be a glorious day in Minnesota. Taking only three putts over his final four holes, the former Maryland golf coach shot into a share of the lead, an unfamiliar position for him.

He chipped in for birdie on No. 15, holed putts of 30 and 20 feet on the next two holes, then saved par with about a 10-foot putt on the last.

Furyk wasn't nearly that dramatic, but he was just as satisfied. Four of his five birdie putts were inside 10 feet, the exception coming on No. 6, when he got a good read from Jerry Kelly's putt and made birdie from 25 feet.

Furyk had a share of the first-round lead in the 1997 British Open and has reason to believe he can pick up his first major here. Eleven of the last 14 winners at the PGA had never won a major.

''I would like to put myself in position the next couple of days, but that history probably isn't going to help me too much,'' he said.

Justin Rose of England, suddenly a regular contender in majors, had a 69 and was joined by Peter Lonard of Australia.

Fred Funk
One of the shortest hitters on Tour, Fred Funk didn't seem to have a problem with Hazeltine's distance.

Davis Love III made double bogey on the 16th and still shot 70, along with Lee Janzen, while Vijay Singh and Minnesota native Tom Lehman joined Woods in the group at 71.

It was a bizarre beginning to the final major of the year. Minnesota fans were buzzing by the time Woods, Els and Toms arrived on the 10th tee. They took up every inch of space down the fairways, standing 20 rows deep up a slope.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

All three drives found the fairways, and what followed was a sound that startled Woods -- the siren to halt play because of a fast-approaching storm.

Everyone could see the black clouds behind them -- except for Woods, whose eyes were focused on the 10th fairway and perhaps the American Slam. No one has ever won the three U.S. majors in the same year.

He stiffened and looked back when he heard the horn.

''I didn't know what it was for, and David said there was lightning in the area,'' Woods said. ''I looked back and said, 'Yeah, let's get out of here.'''

After a long wait, the three warmed up quickly.

From a sand-filled divot, Els came up short of the green and then chipped in from 60 feet. He added a 10-foot birdie on the next hole, while Woods hit a half-flop from thick rough to 10 inches for birdie on the par-5 11th and joined Els at 2 under with an 8-foot birdie on No. 12.

That's as low as either of them got.

Els struggled with club selection in the swirling wind. Woods struggled with his driver. Yet both are still very much in contention.

That can't be said for Daly, who didn't like the way the 16th set up for him the first time he saw it. His suspicions were correct.

He hit a 3-wood into the water. Then a 2-iron into the water. Then a driver that nearly went into another hazard. Followed by a 6-iron into the grandstand. After a free drop, his lob wedge went over the green and into the water. He chipped over the green. He almost chipped in. He tapped in for 11.

''I tried on every shot,'' Daly said.

Funk is one of the shortest hitters on tour, a guy known best for his accuracy. He's been known to pick out the stripes left by lawn mowers as his target off the tee.

But majors have been another story. His best finish is a tie for seventh, and he's only been in one other top 10. He recalls one time being tied for the lead after 22 holes, and another time being close to the lead on the weekend.

Furyk has had a few good chances already, especially the 1998 Masters and British Open, when he tied for fourth.

He's had some good reasons for playing poorly in the majors this year: an inner-ear infection before the Masters, the impending birth of his daughter during the U.S. Open, and being a new father at the British Open.

Then again, he also won the Memorial with a final-round 65 for his seventh tour victory.

''When I've played well, I've played very well and put myself in position,'' he said. ''I've always missed a bunch of cuts. I try to look at the positive parts.''










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Frozen Moment: Furyk's run

 
Wind makes things interesting at Hazeltine

 
British invasion: Youngster Rose again near the top

 
Notebook: Cordial reception for Monty

 
PGA often holds key to surprises

 
PGA Championship -- Players to Watch

AUDIO / VIDEO  
Video
 Good Score
Tiger Woods is happy to have a round under par.
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 Changing Intensity
Tiger Woods is trying to contend with the challenges of the Hazeltine golf course.
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