Adam Scott, playing only his second event with Tiger Woods’ caddie Steve Williams on his bag, fired a four-under par 66 to share the lead at the US PGA Tour’s AT&T National.
The 30-year-old Australian, who shared second at the Masters but missed the cut at the US Open two weeks ago in his first event with Williams as his caddie, was level with American Hunter Haas after 18 holes on the Aronimink layout on Thursday.
The score was the more meritorious as only 28 players in the field of 120 cracked par on a course that played tougher than the US Open, where rain softened the course.
“I’m happy with this start,” Scott said. “Anything in the 60s at Aronimink is good.
“They have got very generous fairways, but severe rough, which is a nice balance. There are good scores out there, but you have to play well.”
“I think they’ve got the greens probably where the US Open would have liked them on a Thursday,” Scott said.
Scott, who played the course in the 1997 US Junior Amateur, seeks his eighth US PGA title, his first since last year’s Texas Open.
Williams, who has caddied for Woods in 13 of his 14 major victories, is working with Scott while the former world No.1 remains sidelined by left knee and Achilles injuries.
“I have learned some things off Steve, and he obviously knows how to manage his way around the golf course,” Scott said.
“He has got a wealth of knowledge. I’m trying to tap as much of that as I can while he’s on the bag certainly.”
Scott began a run of three birdies in four holes at the third with a 20-foot putt and added a 25-footer for birdie at the fourth, the landed his approach six feet from the cup at the six to set up another birdie.
After starting the back nine with a bogey, Scott birdied the par-3 14th and also finished the 18th with a birdie after dropping a sand wedge shot to 15 feet.
Haas, who started on the back nine, birdied the 13th through 16th holes to match Scott at the top. He added a birdie at the third but a bogey at the seventh kept him from finish alone atop the leaderboard.
Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas and Americans Dean Wilson, Joe Ogilvie and Kyle Stanley shared third on 67 with Fiji’s Vijay Singh on 68 with nine Americans - Pat Perez, Justin Leonard, Robert Garrigus, Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler, John Merrick, D.A. Points, Troy Matteson and Charlie Howell.
Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby were the next best-placed Australians posting 71s, while Stuart Appleby and Nick O’Hern carded 72s.
Erik Compton, twice a heart transplant recipient who won last week on the Nationwide Tour, opened with a 76 while playing his fifth week in a row.