Buick Open round one: Veterans day leaves Furyk with work to do
Four course winners in the top eight - who says course form is no guide? It can’t be too much of a coincidence that the same four top the betting at the end of round one. It’s not often you see that happen.
What’s interesting is the order the odds-makers have them in. They are clearly less than convinced by leader Rocco Mediate’s assurance that a new therapist has banished much of his back trouble. They put him bottom of the pile on just over 14. Even Woody Austin, a shot back, nips in front of him at 13.5. But it’s the two guys a shot further back who still command first and second spot, Scott Verplank on a little under 10 and Jim Furyk way out in front on 4.
That’s some confidence in a player struggling a bit with his putter. Only Cameron Beckman has putted worse among the top 10 on the leaderboard. What has got Furyk out of trouble is superb stroke play - he missed only one green Thursday.
Furyk thinks something in the region of 20 under is likely to win and my feeling is he needs to buck the trend (should that be Buick the trend?) to tread water on the Friday. He almost certainly needs at least one round of 8 or 9 under in these birdie-fest conditions. So do his rivals, of course, but their putters are a little sharper.
Although many players insisted it was vital to be accurate off the tee the stats don’t exactly bear that out. Brian Bateman, for instance, only hit half his fairways. Good strokeplay and precise putting got a lot of people like him out of trouble.
So now we await the onrush of first round stragglers playing catchup. It’s already looking a bit gloomy for those who failed to get in under 70 in round one. And if anyone sees Sean O’Hair’s putter lying about anywhere, would they kindly return it to him asap?
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