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Furyk claims early lead at Transitions

JIM Furyk fired a 6-under par 65 to take the first round lead at the Transitions Championship on Thursday.

American Furyk, who finished third in a tough field at the WGC-CA Championship in Doral, fired seven birdies and a bogey to finish a shot ahead of Canadian Stephen Ames.

Australian Matthew Goggin and Americans Jonathan Byrd and Kenny Perry were all on 4-under, two shots off the pace.

"I'm obviously very happy with playing such a good round and get off to a good start, something I can try to build on," said Furyk.

"I think the key really today, I putted very well. Looking down, I had 25 putts, and 11 on the back nine, my first side," added the 38-year-old.

Furyk, the 2003 US Open winner, is aiming for his 14th victory on the PGA Tour and says he is benefiting from an extended winter break.

"The design was I played too much golf last year and too many events, and just mentally was not in the right frame of mind of where I wanted to be. I wasn't excited about coming to the golf course, so it was time to put the clubs away for a while and now I'm back in a much better frame of mind," he said.

The consistent Perry said conditions were challenging at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

"It's tough out there. It's US Open conditions. The greens are hard, and that rough is brutal. You can't get out of the rough if you hit it in the rough.

"There's no hole like you can take a breath and feel like you're okay on this hole. If you drive it in trouble or in the rough, you're scrambling, you're out of position, and next thing you know, you're making a bogey on a hole you think you ought to be making birdie.

"I only hit 11 greens, and I chipped good, but I made a lot of six- and 10-footers for par today," he said.

Masters winner Trevor Immelman of South Africa was 3-under par and Nick Watney, who lost out by a shot to Phil Mickelson at Doral, was 2 under.


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