PGA Tour

Goosen and Ishikawa set pace

Retief Goosen (AFP)
Retief Goosen (AFP)

Virginia - Veteran South African Retief Goosen drew on good memories of past Presidents Cups played at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club as he charged into a tie for the first-round lead at the Quicken Loans National in Virginia on Thursday.

The 46-year-old, who represented the Internationals in the 2000 and 2005 Cup editions at the leafy venue in Gainesville, piled up eight birdies in hot, humid conditions for a flawless eight-under-par 63.

Goosen covered his back nine in a sparkling four-under 31 to finish level with 23-year-old Japanese Ryo Ishikawa, who reeled off five consecutive birdies on his front nine before recording a hole-in-one at the par-three fourth after the turn.

South African Ernie Els and Americans Justin Leonard and Kevin Chappell fired 64s while tournament host Tiger Woods recovered from a poor start to open with a 68 after play was suspended for 97 minutes due to the threat of lightning.

"I hit a lot of iron shots close that gave me birdie chances," Goosen, a seven-times winner on the PGA Tour, told Golf Channel after taking advantage of preferred lies on a soft, receptive layout.

"I missed a couple of short ones, actually, out there but just one green missed in regulation and I got that up and down. So overall, a great round."

Goosen has fond memories of the Presidents Cups hosted by Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, especially the 2005 edition when he finished with a 4-0-1 record that included a victory over Woods in the last-day singles.

"It was a great week for me but it would have been nice if the team had won," smiled Goosen, who has not won on the PGA Tour since the 2009 Transitions Championship. "I have a lot of good memories here. I remember a lot of the holes."

Former world number one Woods, who has struggled on the PGA Tour this year while working through his latest swing change as he recovers from back surgery, rebounded impressively from three bogeys in his first four holes.

With his iron play especially sharp, Woods picked up shots at the fifth and eighth before he recorded four consecutive birdies from the 10th on the way to a three-under round.

Defending champion Justin Rose of England, the world number seven, celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday by shooting an eight-birdie 66.

Leading scores on Thursday after the first round of the US PGA Quicken Loans National (par-71, USA unless noted):

63 - Retief Goosen (RSA), Ryo Ishikawa (JPN)

64 - Justin Leonard, Kevin Chappell, Ernie Els (RSA)

65 - Steve Wheatcroft, Jeff Overton, Mark Hubbard, Andy Sullivan (ENG)

66 - Patrick Rodgers, Greg Owen (ENG), Jonas Blixt (SWE), Justin Rose (ENG), Justin Thomas, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (ESP), Arjun Atwal (IND), Ollie Schniederjans

67 - Jason Bohn, Rickie Fowler, Danny Lee (NZL), Pat Perez, John Peterson, Adam Hadwin (CAN), Robert Allenby (AUS), Charles Howell, Bill Haas

68 - Jason Gore, Chad Campbell, Mark Wilson, Noh Seung-Yul (KOR), Jonathan Byrd, Cameron Tringale, Jim Herman, S.J. Park (KOR), Daniel Summerhays, Nick Taylor (CAN), Tiger Woods, David Lingmerth (SWE), Steven Bowditch (AUS), Hudson Swafford, Will Wilcox, Whee Kim (KOR)

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