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Continued: In his first competitive round at Bridgestone, Webb Simpson shoots 64; Woods lurking 2 back

  • Article by: RUSTY MILLER , AP Sports Writer
  • Last update: August 2, 2013 - 12:19 AM

"They might not match the outfit perfectly, but it felt like I had socks on compared to the other ones," he said, grinning.

Woods would have a nice career if only World Golf Championship events, such as the Bridgestone, counted. He won three in a row (1999-2001) at Firestone, then had three top-five finishes before reeling off victories in his next four appearances (2005-2009), and missing the 2008 tournament while recovering from knee surgery.

In 41 WGC starts, he has 32 top-10 finishes.

There's something about Firestone that brings out the best in him.

"Luckily, over the years I've taken advantage of it," he said. "I have played well and I've scored well, and I've won my share of tournaments here."

Bradley won the Bridgestone a year ago when he shot a closing 64, and Jim Furyk, who had led all week, double-bogeyed the closing hole.

Bradley put together a workmanlike, efficient 66 that didn't include a bogey.

The 2011 PGA Championship winner doesn't want to stress out on defending his title.

"No, it's business as usual," he said. "I just want to not put too much pressure on myself to do anything crazy. I know this golf course fits me, so to let the course come to me is big here."

Another shot back at 67 in the star-studded field were Furyk, Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Bill Haas and Luke Donald.

Fowler was speaking for a lot of players when he said that there are a lot of similarities between Firestone and Oak Hill, the site of the PGA Championship next week.

"If the course stays dry and it starts to firm up through the weekend, it's very comparable as far as you've got to drive the ball well and position yourself off the tee," said Fowler, who practiced at Oak Hill on Monday. "It's a great warm-up here, but obviously this is one of our bigger weeks of the year, too. Two great weeks, back-to-back, and two great golf courses."

While the world's top-ranked player, Woods, was in prime position, that wasn't necessarily the case for Nos. 2 and 3.

Phil Mickelson, coming off his dramatic victory at the British Open two weeks ago, struggled with his concentration and came in with a 72.

"Tonight I'll get a little bit more rest and try not to do too much and see if I can come out tomorrow a little bit more focused," he said.

He missed two par putts inside 3 feet on consecutive holes early in his round.

Rory McIlroy shot a 70. The defending PGA champion is winless this year.

"I just threw a few shots away around the greens," he said. "You know, you start to save shots there and all of a sudden you're 3- , 4- or 5-under par."

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Chicago Cubs - WP: B. Parker 6 FINAL
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