The PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson

Lefty right on early at Oak Hill

Mickelson storms out of the gate at the 85th PGA Championship to take the early lead

8/14/03 1:15pm
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Rain spent the past two weeks softening Oak Hill, and Phil Mickelson quickly took advantage.

Mickelson birdied three of the first four holes and was at 5 under with four holes to play in the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

Rod Pampling was the early leader in the clubhouse, finishing a bogey-free round at 4-under 66.

Kevin Sutherland and Shaun Micheel were still on the course, tied for third at 2 under. Seven others, including Masters champion Mike Weir, were at 1 under.

Tiger Woods was 1 over through 15 holes.

It was a strong and somewhat unlikely start for Mickelson, who has struggled this season and ranks 26th on the PGA Tour money list with $1.36 million. He's coming off a tie for sixth at last week's International, his best finish since finishing third at the Masters.

Opening the day at No. 10, Mickelson stumbled only once, making bogey at No. 17 before rebounding with birdies at Nos. 18, 2 and 4.

Pampling, in the first group to tee off at No. 10, set the pace with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, and added birdies at Nos. 1 and 8.

Pampling, in his second full year on Tour and competing in his first PGA Championship, entered the tournament having missed nine of the last 14 cuts. He matched a career-best by finishing fourth at last month's B.C. Open.

With the rain clearing out earlier in the week, play opened in muggy conditions, and under a bright sun that burned off a morning haze. The forecast calls for sun and mid-80 degree temperatures through the weekend.

Mickelson and Pampling were among the few in the field that played well on the 77-year-old Oak Hill course that remains a challenge with its plush rough and narrow fairways penalizing those that failed to hit straight.

Defending champion Rich Beem struggled from the outset. He settled for bogey after his opening tee shot on No. 10 sailed into the gallery, and just 20 yards short of Allen's Creek. Beem then had a bogey on 12 and a double bogey on 13, and was at 6 over through 11 holes.

Woods, playing with Beem, also fell off the pace. After going 1 under with a birdie at 13, Woods bogeyed 14 and 15 and was at 1 over.

It's still a better opening than Woods endured at last month's British Open, when he lost his first tee shot and finished with a triple bogey on the first hole.

Australian Robert Allenby bolstered his round with a hole in one on the par-3, 226-yard, No. 11, and was playing at 1 under with three holes remaining.

Allenby's ace was the first in the championship since 2001, when three players managed the feat at the Atlanta Athletic Club, and the 32nd since 1970. Statistics before that are incomplete.

As conditions continue to dry, the 7,134-yard, par-70 Oak Hill is expected to become more demanding, having previously tested the likes of Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. The course most recently was the site of the 1995 Ryder Cup.

The stage is set for the final major of what has been a highly competitive season.

It's a year which has featured eight multiple PGA Tour winners, led by Woods and Davis Love III with four each. And it's a season in which the player of the year award is up for grabs.

By Sunday, plenty of questions will be answered, including: whether Woods can win his first major in six tries, and ninth of his career; whether a European can become the first to win a PGA Championship since Tommy Armour in 1930; or if this will unveil the year's fourth first-time major winner.

The tournament has traditionally favored first-time major winners, 44 in all, the most recent Beem at Hazeltine last year.

But Oak Hill has been a course for veterans, where Hogan finished second to Cary Middlecoff in the 1956 U.S. Open, Lee Trevino won the 1968 U.S. Open, Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA and Curtis Strange won the 1989 U.S. Open.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Rain spent the past two weeks softening Oak Hill, and Phil Mickelson quickly took advantage.

Mickelson birdied three of the first four holes and was at 5 under with four holes to play in the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

Rod Pampling was the early leader in the clubhouse, finishing a bogey-free round at 4-under 66.

Kevin Sutherland and Shaun Micheel were still on the course, tied for third at 2 under. Seven others, including Masters champion Mike Weir, were at 1 under.

Tiger Woods was 1 over through 15 holes.

It was a strong and somewhat unlikely start for Mickelson, who has struggled this season and ranks 26th on the PGA Tour money list with $1.36 million. He's coming off a tie for sixth at last week's International, his best finish since finishing third at the Masters.

Opening the day at No. 10, Mickelson stumbled only once, making bogey at No. 17 before rebounding with birdies at Nos. 18, 2 and 4.

Pampling, in the first group to tee off at No. 10, set the pace with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, and added birdies at Nos. 1 and 8.

Pampling, in his second full year on Tour and competing in his first PGA Championship, entered the tournament having missed nine of the last 14 cuts. He matched a career-best by finishing fourth at last month's B.C. Open.

With the rain clearing out earlier in the week, play opened in muggy conditions, and under a bright sun that burned off a morning haze. The forecast calls for sun and mid-80 degree temperatures through the weekend.

Mickelson and Pampling were among the few in the field that played well on the 77-year-old Oak Hill course that remains a challenge with its plush rough and narrow fairways penalizing those that failed to hit straight.

Defending champion Rich Beem struggled from the outset. He settled for bogey after his opening tee shot on No. 10 sailed into the gallery, and just 20 yards short of Allen's Creek. Beem then had a bogey on 12 and a double bogey on 13, and was at 6 over through 11 holes.

Woods, playing with Beem, also fell off the pace. After going 1 under with a birdie at 13, Woods bogeyed 14 and 15 and was at 1 over.

It's still a better opening than Woods endured at last month's British Open, when he lost his first tee shot and finished with a triple bogey on the first hole.

Australian Robert Allenby bolstered his round with a hole in one on the par-3, 226-yard, No. 11, and was playing at 1 under with three holes remaining.

Allenby's ace was the first in the championship since 2001, when three players managed the feat at the Atlanta Athletic Club, and the 32nd since 1970. Statistics before that are incomplete.

As conditions continue to dry, the 7,134-yard, par-70 Oak Hill is expected to become more demanding, having previously tested the likes of Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. The course most recently was the site of the 1995 Ryder Cup.

The stage is set for the final major of what has been a highly competitive season.

It's a year which has featured eight multiple PGA Tour winners, led by Woods and Davis Love III with four each. And it's a season in which the player of the year award is up for grabs.

By Sunday, plenty of questions will be answered, including: whether Woods can win his first major in six tries, and ninth of his career; whether a European can become the first to win a PGA Championship since Tommy Armour in 1930; or if this will unveil the year's fourth first-time major winner.

The tournament has traditionally favored first-time major winners, 44 in all, the most recent Beem at Hazeltine last year.

But Oak Hill has been a course for veterans, where Hogan finished second to Cary Middlecoff in the 1956 U.S. Open, Lee Trevino won the 1968 U.S. Open, Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA and Curtis Strange won the 1989 U.S. Open.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Western New York PGA SectionGreater Rochester Visitors Association, Inc.

©2003 The PGA of America / Ryder Cup limited / Turner Sports Interactive. All rights reserved.
Turner Entertainment Digital Network PGA.COM is part of Bleacher Report - Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network.

Send all feedback / comments to webmaster.pga@turner.com. Sales inquiries contact sales.pga@turner.com.
PGA.com Privacy Policy / Terms of Use.