BETHESDA, Md. (AP) – Few holes on the PGA Tour offer a more difficult opening shot than the par-3 10th at Congressional, which is 220 yards over the water.
For Adam Scott, it was even tougher – because it really was his first swing of the day.
Scott had an 8:02 a.m. tee time Thursday in the AT&T National, so imagine his surprise when he awoke at 7:20 a.m. Worse yet, he is staying this week in Georgetown, which can be a 45-minute drive to the course depending on the traffic.
“Luckily, I had ironed my clothes the night before,'' Scott said with a big enough smile to make it clear he was kidding.
He wasn't smiling when he woke up. Typically a calm Aussie, Scott said he was “jumpy'' rushing out to his car and didn't think he had any chance of making it. He arrived at 7:55 a.m., just seven minutes before his tee time. He didn't have time to warm up on the range. He might have been late to the tee, a two-shot penalty, except for starting at the 10th. Because it's a par 3, and a tough one at that, there was a five-minute delay that helped him.
Scott hit 4-iron into the right bunker, blasted out to 4 feet and escaped with par.
“It was probably a 5-iron, but being my first shot of the day, I thought a 4-iron was a better choice,'' he said.
Before walking up to the tee on the 11th hole, Scott raced into a portable bathroom, another reminder of how much he had rushed to get to the course.
Scott said he usually doesn't need an alarm clock. He has the uncanny ability of telling his body when he needs to wake up the next morning. This time, he says he forgot to tell his body when to wake up because he had set his alarm – or so he thought.
The AT&T National gave players a new phone as a gift, so Scott decided to switch over from his regular phone.
“Obviously, it was a bit more complicated,'' he said. “I don't know if I didn't hear it or if I didn't set the alarm right.''
The good news is he made it to the golf course on time, and after a rugged start, played even par over the last 11 holes for a 75.
LEISHMAN'S WAIT: Marc Leishman didn't bother going through British Open qualifying last month because he had no intention of going. With an American wife and the recent birth of their first child, he has applied for a green card, which takes time.
“It was looking like I wasn't going to be able to leave the country, so I didn't do it,'' he said.
But after winning the Travelers Championship last week, he has gone to the top of a special money list from which the top two players not already exempt will get into the British Open. He is likely to get a spot, and he would love to play.
But one of the conditions of applying for a green card is not leaving the country until it's approved. Thus the quandary.
“It's a good thing to have to worry about,'' he said.
He has spoken to immigration lawyers, and he has been approved for advanced parole, which would allow him to travel to England for the Open. Trouble is, that takes 30 days to come through, and the next major starts in 21 days.
“Hopefully, it gets here before the British,'' he said. “Otherwise, I'm not sure what we're going to do.''
WEEKEND WEATHER: Tiger Woods felt the fairways and greens were plenty firm in the opening round. What really makes him wonder is the weekend.
The forecast is for increasing heat, perhaps into the 100s, over the next several days.
“It'll be interesting to see what happens, what they do on the weekend, if it's supposed to be hot again,'' Woods said. “You can water the greens all you want in the morning, and they're going to obviously dry out as the day goes on. I don't see how this course is going to play easier in the afternoon.''
Then again, the scoring average was slightly higher Thursday morning than in the afternoon.
BEAU KNOWS: Davis Love III ran into Beau Hossler and told the 17-year-old, “You're sure playing a lot of tough courses.''
Hossler was briefly leading in the third round of the U.S. Open at Olympic Club two weeks ago. He played in the U.S. Open last year at Congressional. And he was given a sponsor's exemption into the AT&T National, which felt like a U.S. Open.
No matter. The kid bogeyed his last hole and still had an even-par 70.
“I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable out here, so I feel like I belong,'' Hossler said. “Obviously, my game needs to get better before I'm out here all the time, I feel pretty comfortable out here, feels like I can make the adjustment from junior to amateur to professional golf. I feel like I've made some progress.''
DIVOTS: With the hot weather, Robert Garrigus said the ball is going even farther. “For you,'' said Jim Furyk, who was walking by when he heard the big-hitting Garrigus offer such an assessment. … Congressional matched the highest score to par among first-round leaders this year with Bo Van Pelt at 4-under 67. Michael Thompson led the U.S. Open at 4-under 66; John Merrick and Jeff Maggert were at 4-under 66 at the St. Jude Classic; and Colt Knost, Vaughn Taylor and Chad Campbell were at 4-under 67 in the Heritage at Hilton Head. … Robert Garrigus, who opened with a 70, has only shot over par only three times in 17 rounds at Congressional.