- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2012

The field of 120 that teed off at Congressional on Thursday had enough pressure as it was. They had to play well and get into a position to not only make the cut, but also contend.

Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan had the added burden of playing with Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III.

“I hope there’s no pressure,” said Love. “I’ve been trying to tell these guys, ‘Look, just play to win every week and don’t worry about the Ryder Cup.’”

While the Ryder Cup still is three months away, Love already is scouting for his four captain’s picks. He considers this a good year for him as captain.

“I’m lucky this year, I’ve gotten to play with a ton of the guys who are either on the team or going to be on the team,” said Love. “The only ones I haven’t played with yet are [Jason] Dufner and Tiger [Woods].”

Love will be happy that Johnson doesn’t feel the added pressure.

“No [I don’t feel pressure]. I know Davis pretty well, he’s a good friend of mine,” said Johnson. “I enjoy playing with him, and we had a good time … so it was fun.”

Mahan also said he wasn’t worried.

“Every time I tee up I’m trying as hard as I can,” said Mahan. “[I’m] trying to play as well as I can, no matter who I’m playing with.”

All three shot 1-under and were happy with their scores.

“Our whole group played well, we could’ve done better … but 1 under on this course is going to be good every day,” said Love.

Hurley in contention

Leesburg native and Naval Academy graduate Billy Hurley III is in contention. After shooting a 69 on Thursday, Hurley is two strokes behind leader Bo Van Pelt.

“I got off to a good start and started with a birdie which was nice,” said Hurley.

Hurley was playing with 17-year-old amateur Beau Hossler and Kyle Reifers.

Being so close to his hometown, Hurley’s parents and some friends were on hand to cheer him on, although he thought everyone was there for Hossler.

“They said his name more than they said my name today,” said Hurley. “I walked off the second hole [saying], ‘I thought I was the hometown guy here.’ “

Competing in Woods’ tournament to honor the military, Hurley loves the atmosphere.

“There are probably more military people here today than there has been at any other stop,” said Hurley. “It’s nice to have a good round and hear some ‘Beat Army’ and stuff.”

Leishman riding momentum

Coming off a career-low 62 to win the Travelers Championship last weekend, Marc Leishman turned his focus to Congressional.

“I played pretty well, it was a really tough golf course,” Leishman said after shooting 1 under. “To be under par at the end of the day is going to be pretty good.”

Leishman believes his 62 at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., last Sunday gave him momentum.

“I know what I want to do now,” said Leishman. “I want to win as many tournaments as I can and to do that you’ve got to play hard from the start.”

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