We're officially off and running at the AT&T National. Two men, Adam Scott and Hunter Haas, are tied for the 18-hole lead at 4-under-par, while a whole host of others are in contention and in red numbers. Unfortunately for those pulling for local favorites Sean O'Hair and Jim Furyk, neither man would find himself on the low-side of par after day one. The two currently reside at a combined thirteen-over-par.
Comments from co-leader Adam Scott and our picks for the best spots to camp out on the course after the jump...
Though Aussie Adam Scott may not have the local ties or, let's say, a membership at Aronimink (I'm looking at you, O'Hair), he is nonetheless familiar with the golf course. After draining a fifteen-footer for birdie on 18, Scott made his way to the media tent to discuss his own relationship with 83-year-old Donald Ross design. A participant in the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur, an event also held on the grounds of Aronimink, Scott fondly recalled his experience as a seventeen-year-old in unfamiliar territory.
"I didn't know much at all about the style of golf courses in the Northeast of America back then. So, coming here to play was a real treat...I remember [it was] a lot more tree-lined back then. There were a lot of trees, I believe, taken out since...It was a good course back then, too. It was probably the toughest course I had seen at that point. The USGA...it's like going to a U.S. Open that Junior Amateur with the way they set it up. It was pretty tough. It still is. [Laughs] I think I lost pretty early back then."
If his memory of the course didn't help him to a share of the lead Thursday, perhaps it was his caddie. Steve Williams, the usual bag man for Tiger Woods, has been hanging with Scott the past few week as Woods' continues rehabilitation on his knee and Achilles tendon. To the benefit of those in attendance, particularly those in the photography business, "Stevie" doesn't seem nearly as hostile when he isn't with Woods. Scott and co-leader Hunter Hass tee off Friday morning at 8:15 a.m. and 8:37 a.m., respectively.
Should you be out there to take in their opening tee balls, we've put together a list of some of the better spots to hang out during the day at Aronimink. Sadly, the view from one of our favorite spots in 2010—the white fence behind the 9th tee—has been somewhat obstructed in 2011. Where before you could see both the par-5 9th and par-3 17th, members of the gallery now get a view of a massive freaking tank. It's been parked in that location so it may reside next to the Lockheed Martin chalet, a special tent for members of the military to take in the action. Is the tank cool? Yes. Is it in the way? Yes.
Rather than continue on about the tank, we'll simply do our best to pitch back into the fairway and make a four. In no particular order, here's our recommendations for the best spots camp out on the course. Many of the locations below represent the most convenient sites for accessing the greatest number holes in the shortest amount of time. Naturally, as the tournament progresses and the crowds increase, so will the traffic in many of these locales. As such, we've tried to mix a few gems that were left untouched from last year.
(1) The double-greens at 8 and 10. The green complexes of the par-3 8th and par-4 10th back right up against one another and are only separated by a small patch of fairway. The trees to the left of the 8th provide some shade while you get to watch the pros take aim from the top of a hill more than 240-yards away. Likewise, over on 10, the hole's front left pond makes for an entertaining moment or two. This is one of the most popular spots on the course and is usually the busiest area throughout each round.
(2) The bleacher seats behind the 17th green. The par-3 17th is one of, if not the best hole on the golf course. At 215-yards, the players are forced to either bail out to the right side of the green or flirt with a massive lake that drowns every golf ball short or left. This is, without question, the number-one spot to lock down come Sunday.
(3) The bleacher seats behind 18. Consider the rationale for sitting on 17, and then make the connection that the tournament ends on 18. Both spots are obviously prime, and that much harder to secure as the week progresses. Fortunately, you shouldn't have much trouble getting in either during the opening rounds.
(4) The shaded area behind the 14th green. This is particularly clutch. Not only are you under the cover of more than 100-year-old oaks, but you're within steps of both the 15th tee and 16th green. Previously, you could have also used this location to run over to the aforementioned fence behind 9. Now...there's a tank. Hooray!
(5) The rough behind the 15th green. Considering that its just paces from the 12th green and 13th and 16th tee boxes, you might ask, "why the hell is no one here?" Well, because it's kind of far and people are lazy. If you're up for the trek, it's a solid spot.
(6) The hill to the right of the 7th green. The steep hill makes for a semi-stadium effect, with each spectator clearly seeing over anyone below. Plus, the view from the 8th tee box, just a few paces to the right, is absolutely spectacular. This, like the whole golf course quite frankly, is crowded come Sunday.
(7) The driving range. It's, uh, pretty boss.
There are obviously more areas we could have included, but we'll let you find those of your own. We'll be back tomorrow with a rundown of the insane prices in the merchandise tent and other notes from the course. 'Til then.