Luke takes route 66
Englishman going well at Firestone where Furyk gets a flyer
Last Updated: August 2, 2012 11:16pm
Luke Donald: Tied third and three back from leader Jim Furyk
Luke Donald shrugged off a sinus infection to make a fine start to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The world number one carded a four-under 66 in the opening round at a sun-drenched Firestone Country Club in Akron to sit three shots behind early pace-setter Jim Furyk.
First round leaderboard
(US unless stated)
-7 J Furyk
-5 L Slattery (Eng)
-4 B Watson
-4 B Crane
-4 L Donald (Eng)
-4 R Cabrera-Bello (Spa)
-4 S Dyson (Eng)
-4 J Senden (Aus)
Click here for collated scores
England's Lee Slattery, playing in just his second WGC event, is alone in second at five-under while Donald shares third with Masters champion Bubba Watson, John Senden, Ben Crane, Simon Dyson and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
Tiger Woods, a seven-time winner at the Firestone course, could only manage level par 70 and lies 31st.
Donald, joint runner-up in the event last year, needed only 25 putts as he mixed seven birdies with three bogeys.
"I got off to a great start," said the 34-year-old. "I was three under through three, gave a few bogeys back with a few poor drives.
"But I had the pace and the line on the greens really well. I made a bunch of putts today.
Greens so pure
"The course was in great shape. It's always that way. The greens are so pure, the fairways are pure, the tees are purer than most of the greens we played growing up as kids."
"I had the pace and the line on the greens really well. I made a bunch of putts today."
Donald on opening round Quotes of the week
Woods, by contrast, struggled on the greens throughout and even missed from inside three feet on the last. His return effort from seven feet was his 33rd putt of the round.
"I hit it good. (But) I think I averaged about four putts per hole," he said later.
The 14-time major winner appeared to be cruising when reaching three-under after 11 but bogeyed three of the last six to fall back into the pack.
Tiger's 70 was matched by Rory McIlroy but, in contrast to Tiger, the Northern Irishman started poorly before a strong finish.
The 2011 US Open champion slumped to three over after just four holes but rallied with birdies at seven, 10 and 15 to haul himself back to level par.
Lee Westwood is going nicely at two-under but newly-crowned Open champion Ernie Els had four bogeys and just a single birdie in a round of three-over 73.
Open runner-up Adam Scott, the defending champion this week, returned a 71.