Scott, Dufner lead at windy Doral
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Adam Scott and Jason Dufner both posted rounds of six-under 66 Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Thomas Bjorn share third place at four- under 68.
Rory McIlroy's first round as the No. 1 player in the world was a shaky one.
The reigning U.S. Open champion, who became the top-ranked golfer after his win Sunday at The Honda Classic, shot a one-over 73.
How good has McIlroy's ascension to the top been? Thursday's one-over round was his first over-par since the PGA Championship in August.
"To be honest I felt a little flat out there," admitted McIlroy. "I don't know, I shouldn't, it's a World Golf Championship, but just felt a little flat out there."
There's no shame in an over-par score Thursday.
As if the TPC Blue Monster at Doral needed the help, wind gusts reached close to 30 mph in round one. Two different heavy storms pelted the course, but were over in mere minutes, making the Blue Monster a demanding challenge.
Tiger Woods, a six-time champion, bogeyed the last hole on Thursday to card an even-par 72. Woods, who fired a final-round 62 on Sunday at The Honda to scare McIlroy on the back nine, started brilliantly with a tap-in eagle at one Thursday, but played two-over the rest of the way.
"It was just a difficult day," said Woods, who hit a shot through trees, over water en route to birdie at eight on Thursday.
Sergio Garcia, who played with Woods in round one, was perhaps the most telling illustration of Thursday's difficulty.
Garcia birdied the par-five 12th to get to five-under and within one of the lead. He bogeyed the next five holes and tripled the last for a three-over 75.
"When you are in the fairway on a day like today, you get a chance to hit it somewhere near the hole, give yourself an opportunity," said Scott. "If you're in the rough, it's very hard to even just hit the green, let alone give yourself a chance."
Scott began on the 10th tee Thursday and broke into red figures with a nine- foot birdie at the par-five 12th. He rolled in a long birdie putt at the 14th and got to three-under thanks to a 12-footer for birdie at No. 16. The Australian made a birdie from off the green at the 17th and escaped with a par at 18, a hole that played more than 50-over par for the field in round one.
At the par-five first, Scott knocked an eight-iron to four feet for his second and converted for eagle. He rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt at No. 2 to get to seven-under par for the championship.
Scott's lone hiccup of the round came at the par-four sixth. He pulled his approach into a left greenside bunker and failed to save par. Scott was back to six-under, but parred his last three for a share of the lead.
"Obviously very satisfied with the round today, and in these blustery conditions," said Scott. "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."
Scott is no stranger to WGC success. It was at last year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational where Scott cruised to victory. It was also the site of his caddie, Steve Williams' bizarre interview where he called it "the best win of my life," despite winning 13 majors and that same WGC title six times with Woods.
"He just got out of my way today," joked Scott. "Today was a day where a good caddie is definitely helpful."
Dufner notched three birdies in his first five holes Thursday. He dropped a shot at 18, his ninth, but atoned for the error with a tap-in birdie at one and an eight-foot birdie putt at two.
Dufner got to five-under par with a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-three fourth, but his tee shot at another par three, the ninth, got him into a share of first.
Dufner hit a seven-iron inside two feet at No. 9 to set up the tying birdie.
FedExCup points leader Kyle Stanley, PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Alvaro Quiros, Aaron Baddeley, Justin Rose, Juvic Pagunsan and Miguel Angel Jimenez are knotted in a tie for fifth at three-under 69.
NOTES: Luke Donald and Lee Westwood can both reclaim the No. 1 ranking with a win this week. Donald shot a two-under 70, while Westwood struggled to a four- over 76...Defending champion Nick Watney shot a one-under 71 on Thursday...Phil Mickelson matched Woods at even-par 72.
03/08 18:59:58 ET