NEWTOWN SQUARE, June 30, 2011 (AFP) - Australian Adam Scott, playing only his second event with Tiger Woods caddie Steve Williams on his bag, fired a four-under par 66 Thursday to share the lead at the PGA National.
The 30-year-old Aussie, 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.
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.
"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."
Only 28 players in the field of 120 cracked par on the day in a course that played tougher than the US Open at Congressional, where rain softened the course that will return to hosting the National in 2012.
"I think they've got the greens probably where the US Open would have liked them on a Thursday," Scott said.
Williams, a New Zealander who has caddied for Woods in 13 of his 14 major victories, is working with Scott while Woods 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, who played the course in the 1997 US Junior Amateur, seeks his eighth US PGA title, his first since last year's Texas Open.
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.
Scores on Thursday after the opening round of the $6.2 million US PGA National (USA unless noted, par 70):
66 - Adam Scott (AUS), Hunter Haas
67 - Dean Wilson, Joe Ogilvie, Jonhattan Vegas (VEN), Kyle Stanley
68 - Pat Perez, Justin Leonard, Bill Haas, Robert Garrigus, John Merrick, Rickie Fowler, Charles Howell, Troy Matteson, DA Points, Vijay Singh (FIJ)
69 - Charlie Wi (KOR), David Hearn (CAN), Trevor Immelman (RSA), KJ Choi (KOR)
70 - Brendon de Jonge (ZIM), Justin Rose (ENG)
71 - Brian Davis (ENG), Geoff Ogilvy (AUS), Andres Romero (ARG), Mike Weir (CAN), Robert Allenby (AUS)
72 - Stuart Appleby (AUS), Stephen Ames (CAN), Ryuji Imada (JPN), Nick O'Hern (AUS)
73 - Carl Pettersson (SWE), Michael Sim (AUS)
74 - Camilo Villegas (COL), Rod Pampling (AUS)
75 - Greg Chalmers (AUS)
77 - Arjun Atwal (IND), Matt Jones (AUS), Steven Bowditch (AUS)
80 - Mark Leishman (AUS)