Bo Van Pelt’s bogey-free round gets him the AT&T National lead
Bo Van Pelt kept bogeys off his card and picked up an extra shot when his wedge spun back into the hole for an eagle. It’s a formula that would work well at aU.S. Open, which is what Congressional felt like Thursday in the AT&T National at Bethesda, Md.
On a day when only seven players managed a score in the 60s, Van Pelt opened with a four-under-par 67 to grab a one-shot lead over Vijay Singh, Brendon De Jonge and Jimmy Walker.
Tiger Woods was never under par in the afternoon and opened with a one-over 72.
The venerable Blue Course took a beating last year in the so-called toughest test in golf when unfavorable weather conditions in the weeks leading up to the U.S. Open and overnight rain during the championship made Congressional a pushover. Rory McIlroy had a record score of 16-under 268 for an eight-shot victory.
The AT&T National was more of a grind.
“It’s certainly, I think, a little retribution for what happened last year,” Woods said. “Don’t be mad at me. I didn’t play.”
Woods missed the U.S. Open last year while recovering from injuries to his left leg. He won at Congressional in 2009, the last time the AT&T National was played here, when he won at 13-under 267. That was nothing like the course he faced Thursday.
Billy Hurley III, who went to the Naval Academy and spent five years in the service, joined Pat Perez and Jason Day at 69.
Bruce Vaughan shot a six-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Fred Funk in the Senior Players Championship at Pittsburgh, the third of five Champions Tour majors.
Fred Couples, the winner last year at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., was two strokes back along with Tom Lehman, Michael Allen and Joe Daley.
Greg Norman opened with a 67 in his first Champions Tour event since 2009.
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