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"My putting and my wedge game around the green really cost me," Chip Sullivan said after his opening round at Southern Hills. (Photo: E.M. Pio Roda)

Sullivan Blog: In a nutshell, disappointed after my 78

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In his second blog from the 89th PGA Championship, PGA Professional National Champion Chip Sullivan looks back on what could have been. He certainly was disappointed in his 78, but he remains positive and looks forward to another try on Friday.

TULSA, Okla. -- Disappointed. Not in the way I played, and certainly not in being here -- what a great thrill it is to be here -- but my score was disappointing, there's no other way to put it.

I shot a 78 today, maybe about as bad a score as I could have shot considering I didn't really hit that ball poorly. In fact, I thought I did a lot of good things out there today. I felt really good and relaxed before the round and got off to a good start with a birdie on my second hole. I also had a good chance for birdie on no.13 (I started on 10 tee). But I three-putted there for a par and then the wheels kind of fell off on the next hole, a long, difficult par three.

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I hit my tee shot out of bounds and ended up making a triple-bogey. In golf, you can't do anything about a shot after you've hit it, but that was certainly the one shot I wouldn't mind trying again. That changed the complexion of my entire round -- where I was under par and then, all of sudden, fighting to just hold my position. That's a tough pill, especially early in a major championship. I thought I steadied myself pretty well after that but ended up making a bogey on each of the last three holes, and of course, that's going to leave a sour taste in your mouth.

Today, with the heat and the a few crazy bounces, it was somewhat of a battle for me for a large part of the day. On the last hole, I pulled my 9-iron just a little left of the green and ended up in the rough on top of the bunker -- forcing me to hit my next shot left-handed. I don't practice that shot too much and so that turned into an easy bogey. I missed some putts I shouldn't have missed, had a couple of three-putts that I normally don't have.

I've said all week that this was the type of course that you could hit the ball well and still put up an ugly score. How ironic, I am a great example of that today. My putting and my wedge game around the green really cost me, and it's unfortunate that it happened here at the PGA Championship, but that is the situation. Had they been better, I could have salvaged a decent round and had a good shot of making the cut. As it stands now, though I'm certainly not conceding anything, it looks like I'll come in tomorrow and really try to enjoy myself and make sure I take in the experience of participating in the 89th PGA Championship.

So yes, my opening round for the PGA Championship was a bit disappointing. But I also remind myself, "Hey, I'm here." I can't stress enough how great a feeling that part of the week is for me.

Last night, I had a group of friends drive up from my home area in Louisiana to see me and another group come down from Roanoke, where I live now, to cheer me on. I was able to visit with them for a little bit, which, of course, was very nice. Then, having a good gallery follow you around the course, well, that's a very gratifying feeling to have such great support.

Furthermore, if you look at all of the things that have transpired this year, it's been a tremendous year for me. I'll have some more opportunities to compete at golf's highest level and get a chance to take part in some really great events. So I'll come out tomorrow, tee it up, and do the best I can. I have a late tee time tomorrow so I'll be ready for the heat. I probably won't warm up as much, I'll use sunblock and drink plenty of fluids, and really take time to enjoy every moment of my round.

Of course, I expect to play better tomorrow. Let me reword that and say I expect to score better tomorrow. I hit more fairways today than I thought I would, but I obviously shot a higher score than I thought I would as well. But that's golf. And tomorrow, I'll go out and play my game and enjoy the day and who knows what can happen. It would be great to continue this blog through the weekend.

But no matter what, I'll enjoy the experience whether it ends tomorrow or Sunday, and I'll be back to share some more thoughts with you for at least one more round.

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