March 8 2012
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
DORAL, Fla. -- The big story Thursday at TPC Blue Monster at Doral was the wind, especially on the par-4 18th, which played more like a par-5.
Luke Donald hit 3-wood into the green. Charl Schwartzel hit 5-iron. Sergio Garcia triple-bogeyed it.
You get the idea.
By the time the wind stopped blowing, or at least they stopped playing, Adam Scott and Jason Dufner shared the lead at 6 under.
Two others, Schwartzel and Thomas Bjorn, were tied for third two strokes back while eight more, including Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose, were 3 under.
“Obviously very satisfied with the round today in these blustery conditions,” said Scott, who made just one bogey on the day. “I took advantage of my good play the first 11 or 12 holes and then managed to kind of get it up-and-down here or there coming in.”
Having grown up in Australia, Scott is of course accustomed to the wind. He’s also had success here before with three career top-10s, including a tie for sixth a year ago and a runner-up finish in 2006.
“The last few years I've really got my head around this golf course and how to play it,” Scott said. “I feel comfortable here. I look forward to coming here because it feels like you want to get playing good now. There's a lot to play for.”
There is certainly for Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
This is the first week that McIlroy has been No. 1 in the world, a position he could still lose to Westwood or Donald, the man he replaced atop the Official World Golf Ranking.
Donald had the best day of the three, carding a 68, while McIlroy and Westwood shot 73 and 76, respectively.
McIlroy admitted to being “flat” mentally coming off his victory last week and a runner-up the week before.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, both past winners here, had their own issues with a mix of birdies and bogeys.
In the end, however, they both shot 72.