AKRON, Ohio — Some golfers need to trust their swing. Some need to trust their judgment.
Webb Simpson grabbed a surprising first-round lead at the Bridgestone Invitational by trusting his caddie.
Playing Firestone Country Club for the first time, Simpson relied on caddie Paul Tesori to help guide him around in a round of 6-under-par 64 on Thursday.
"It's hard for us players to listen to our caddies, but he basically showed me where to go yesterday and told me where to hit it, where the lines were, what clubs to hit," said Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion. "I didn't feel like it was my first time because he has so much experience here."
Tesori has caddied for the likes of Vijay Singh and Jerry Kelly and is also an accomplished player.
Even veterans who seem to know every blade of grass on the course can benefit from a good partner out there. Seven-time Bridgestone winner Tiger Woods proved that with the help and counsel of caddie Joe LaCava.
"I hit a lot of good shots. I had a really good feel for the distance today, and Joey and I really read the wind right today," Woods said after a 66, his best opening round at the course since a 66 on the way to a win in 2005. "We changed a lot of shots out there, and we both had a really good handle on what we were doing feel-wise with the wind."
Henrik Stenson was alone in second with a 65. Defending champion Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore and Chris Wood, another first-time entrant, matched Woods at 66.
Simpson had six birdies in an eight-hole span but closed with a bogey. He hasn't won this season, calling his year "encouraging and frustrating."
"I do feel like I'm getting better," he said. "I just don't have the results this year to show it."
Stenson birdied the first hole and then pounded a fairway wood 243 yards to inside 4 feet to set up an eagle on the second.
He had more problems with his outfit than the course. He was breaking in a new pair of shoes and felt a blister coming on at the turn, so he had to switch to an older pair that didn't necessarily fit with his ensemble.
"They might not match the outfit perfectly, but it felt like I had socks on compared to the other ones," he said, grinning.
It's hard to quantify how Woods has dominated at Firestone since he won what was then called the NEC Invitational in his first three appearances (1999-2001). He then had three top-five finishes before reeling off victories in his next four starts at the Bridgestone (2005-2009). He missed the 2008 tournament while recovering from knee surgery.
In his 13 starts at the course, he has 11 top-10 finishes — and has earned more than $9.5 million.
"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.
This time Bradley opened with a workmanlike 66 that didn't include a bogey.
|Minnesota||14||2nd Qtr 0:08|
|Baltimore||0||2nd Qtr 1:53|
|Green Bay||10||3rd Qtr|
|Kansas City||6||3rd Qtr|
|New England||7||3rd Qtr|
|NY Giants||3:05 PM|
|Denver||12/22/14 7:30 PM|
|New York||2:30 PM|
|LA Lakers||5:00 PM|
|New Orleans||6:00 PM|
|Maine||40||2nd Half 12:29|
|Ferris State||59||2nd Half 11:54|
|San Francisco||48||2nd Half 10:05|
|Oregon State||46||2nd Half 4:57|
|Coastal Carolina||26||2nd Half 20:00|
|Holy Cross||11||1st Half 7:47|
|Southern Miss||18||1st Half 8:25|
|Western Carolina||11||1st Half 9:28|
|Creighton||10||1st Half 7:31|
|Maryland||13||1st Half 8:53|
|Cornell||21||1st Half 9:15|
|Vermont||11||1st Half 9:15|
|Loyola-Maryland||15||1st Half 8:16|
|Reinhardt||17||1st Half 11:15|
|Ark-Little Rock||21||1st Half 7:19|
|TX-Pan American||21||1st Half 8:00|
|Alabama State||12||1st Half 10:24|
|Austin Peay||2:00 PM|
|Tennessee St||2:00 PM|
|South Dakota||2:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||3:00 PM|
|SD Christian||3:00 PM|
|UC Irvine||3:30 PM|
|Seton Hall||5:00 PM|
|Appalachian St||5:30 PM|
|North Dakota St||6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||6:00 PM|
|Alcorn State||8:00 PM|
|Sacramento St||9:00 PM|
|BYU||12/22/14 1:00 PM|
|Marshall||12/23/14 5:00 PM|
|Navy||12/23/14 8:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Central Mich||12/24/14 11:00 AM|
|Fresno State||12/24/14 7:00 PM|
|Illinois||12/26/14 12:00 PM|
|Rutgers||12/26/14 3:30 PM|
|NC State||12/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/27/14 12:00 PM|
|Duke||12/27/14 1:10 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Miami-Florida||12/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Boston College||12/27/14 3:30 PM|
|(25) Nebraska||12/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Liberty||38||2nd Half 6:05|
|(1) South Carolina||76|
|Fairleigh Dickinson||49||2nd Half 7:20|
|Buffalo||51||2nd Half 9:54|
|Bucknell||52||2nd Half 7:48|
|Mount St Marys||38|
|Stony Brook||53||2nd Half 9:49|
|FIU||62||2nd Half 8:18|
|Duquesne||29||2nd Half 11:21|
|Maine||45||2nd Half 4:05|
|William & Mary||45|
|Alabama State||32||2nd Half 8:53|
|TX-Pan American||31||2nd Half 9:35|
|South Dakota St||53||2nd Half 8:47|
|Saint Josephs||46||2nd Half 3:27|
|(5) Notre Dame||60|
|Radford||38||2nd Half 11:07|
|(3) Texas||31||2nd Half|
|(4) Texas A&M||32|
|Rhode Island||25||2nd Half 20:00|
|South Florida||12||1st Half 11:44|
|Sam Houston St||13||1st Half 8:58|
|Evansville||9||1st Half 11:16|
|(14) Maryland||29||1st Half 9:15|
|Mercer||18||1st Half 9:31|
|Coll of Charleston||17|
|NC A&T||6||1st Half 15:47|
|Princeton||21||1st Half 11:34|
|Eastern Illinois||22||1st Half 7:04|
|Rider||19||1st Half 7:14|
|SC State||8||1st Half 11:00|
|Fairfield||12||1st Half 10:43|
|Richmond||33||1st Half 6:12|
|Cleveland State||33||1st Half 3:57|
|Kent State||14||1st Half 8:38|
|South Alabama||5||1st Half 4:59|
|Saint Peters||4||1st Half 9:57|
|Youngstown St||13||1st Half 7:37|
|NJIT||7||1st Half 13:00|
|Davidson||6||1st Half 8:39|
|Indiana State||1:30 PM|
|Southern U||1:30 PM|
|Wright State||1:30 PM|
|(19) Oklahoma St||2:00 PM|
|Ark-Little Rock||2:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||2:00 PM|
|North Dakota||2:00 PM|
|Western Ill||2:00 PM|
|(6) North Carolina|
|Ball State||2:00 PM|
|(8) Kentucky||2:00 PM|
|New Orleans||2:00 PM|
|Chicago State||2:00 PM|
|Bowling Green||2:00 PM|
|SE Missouri St|
|Northern Ill||2:00 PM|
|(23) Iowa||2:05 PM|
|Central Michigan||2:30 PM|
|Western Carolina||2:30 PM|
|Cal Poly||3:00 PM|
|No Dakota State||3:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Idaho State||3:00 PM|
|(18) Michigan State||3:00 PM|
|Fresno State||4:00 PM|
|St Francis-PA||4:00 PM|
|(10) Louisville||4:00 PM|
|(21) Miss State|