By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- When Jim Furyk got to the seventh tee and saw he was near the top of the leaderboard despite just being 1 under at the time, he was admittedly surprised.
"I was scratching my head going, wow, the scores are pretty tough today," he said. "Then I was kind of excited because I had some opportunities in front of me."
Furyk, who started on the back nine, birdied No. 8 and finished with a 2-under 69 thathas him near the lead at what's proving to be a very difficult golf course.
Even with damp conditions and overcast skies, Congressional isn't yielding many birdies.
Much of that can be attributed to the thick rough, narrow fairways and its length.
"It's not a U.S. Open, where you can't advance the ball, but it's difficult in spots," Furyk said. "There are some key spots where you have to hit the ball on the fairway."
The par-5 ninth, for example.
"If you don't hit it in the fairway there from that back tee, it's tough to lay the ball up in a place where you can get the ball on the green or have a good opportunity to get the ball on the green," Furyk said.
He hit the fairway and still made just par.
"It's a hard layout to start with," Furyk said of Congressional. "After the U.S. Open came, they didn't widen out the fairways. Originally, before the U.S. Open, these fairways were much wider than they are right now. They kept the U.S. Open lines."
And the scores aren't that much different, either.