PGA Championship 2013: Surprise Contenders from Day 1

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2013

ROCHESTER, NY - AUGUST 08:  Jim Furyk of the United States watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the 95th PGA Championship on August 8, 2013 in Rochester, New York.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Inclement weather may have put Round 1 of the PGA Championship on pause for a while, but that didn't stop some surprise contenders from posting strong scores to kick off the tournament in Rochester, N.Y. 

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott may have headlined the field at Oak Hill, but Day 1 saw plenty of surprise contenders emerge. Jim Furyk hasn't won a major since 2003, but went to the clubhouse as the leader through the first 18 holes. 

Here's a live look-in at the leaderboard as it stands. 

Furyk wasn't the only surprise contender making his mark on the leaderboard in Day 1, though. David Hearn and Matt Kuchar all shot in the mid-60s as they set themselves up to contend through the weekend. 

Here's a look at how each performed on Thursday. 



Furyk Emerges as Surprise Contender

Major tournaments have not been kind to Furyk in 2013. After finishing T-25 at the Masters he missed the cut at both the U.S. and British Open. 

It would take a colossal meltdown from the 43-year-old to miss the cut this time around. As Justin Ray of ESPN notes, his 65 is a career low for the opening round of a major. 

Furyk turned back the clock with a round that featured six birdies and just one bogey. The scary thing about his score is that he could improve in Round 2. He missed a few putts like this one on No. 8 that could have put him in an even better position to contend and didn't score his first bogey until the very last hole of the day for him. 

With fellow 43-year-old Phil Mickelson capturing a major title at the British, Furyk is definitely an intriguing contender to watch going forward. 



David Hearn Eyeing First Top-10 Major Finish

Canadian David Hearn has made the cut at exactly one major tournament in his career. After firing a 66 on Thursday it's safe to say he'll be doubling that number when the field is reduced on Friday evening.

The 34-year-old got off to a rough start with a bogey on No. 1, but caught fire after that, racking up three birdies on the first nine and three on the back nine before ending the round with a second bogey.

As Dan Jenkins of Golf Digest quipped, Hearn is one of the most intriguing names on the leaderboard.

Could Hearn's first ever PGA tour victory come at the Championship? That would certainly be a shocker. His presence on the leaderboard was certainly unexpected even at this juncture.



Robert Garrigus Puts Up Strong, Uneven Start

Robert Garrigus was part of a small contingent that registered a 67 in the opening round of the tournament. How he got there was a little different than some of his counterparts, though. 

The 35-year-old American opened the round with two birdies in the first four holes. Then things got weird. He went double-bogey on No. 6, birdie on No. 7 and bogey on No. 8 before reeling off birdies on three of the next four holes. 

On one hand, his hot-and-cold play doesn't look good for a course that values accuracy over everything else. On the other hand, his ability to put up seven birdies shows that he is capable of making up ground in a hurry if he gets in a rhythm. 

Garrigus has never finished higher than T-21 at the PGA Championship, but fueled by his opening-round success he could easily put up a career-best finish this weekend.