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Live notes: First round
Want to know what's going on at Oakland Hills? Our crew at the PGA Championship will keep you updated with all the happenings in the first round. Check back often for our continuous coverage.
PERRY WITHDRAWS: Kenny Perry has received his share of criticism for not playing in majors this year as he sought to attain his goal of making the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
So now that he's making his first major appearance this year ... well, unfortunately it didn't last long.
Perry withdrew late Thursday night due to an eye injury that he had suffered on Tuesday. It obviously affected his game, as he shot a 9-over 79 that would've put him in danger of missing the cut on Friday. Perry bogeyed five of his final six holes during a back nine that was interrupted by the 85-minute weather delay.
"I have had Lasik surgery and have been wearing Lasik lenses, which have a hard center and flatten out at the end," Perry said in a news release. "I had got some infection in there and my doctor (ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Erickson of Birmingham, Mich.) said that I needed to let my eyes rest by keeping the contacts out.
"He gave me cortisone and steriods, which were very painful and it was annoying and difficult to be trying to fight a tough golf course and have my eye aggravating me at the same time."
Perry needs to make sure he's healthy, as he has a very important stretch of golf ahead of him. Not only will he play in the Ryder Cup next month in his home state of Kentucky, but with Tiger Woods out, Perry is in line to enter the FedExCup Playoffs as the points leader.
"I love the PGA Championship and I hate to not be continuing. But I have got to get ready for the Ryder Cup." -- Mike McAllister (9:11 p.m. ET)
PADDY'S LIPS: Padraig Harrington knew 71 was a reasonable score Thursday. Just three off the lead. With three days to go.
Still, it didn't feel that reasonable.
"Felt like I played a lot better than 71," said the two-time British Open champion. "Really struggled on the greens. I had a number of putts that the hole lipped-out on, so made me feel like I was putting a lot worse than I was, maybe. And then it even got a little bit into my longer game towards the end of the round as I was getting a bit more frustrated."
Harrington couldn't visualize himself getting the putts in the hole, so, when he faced a 9-footer on the 15th hole after the rain delay ...
"It was going in the left half of the hole, and it lipped out again," he said. "I really couldn't wait to get finished after that, and it showed in my golf. I was anxious to get into the clubhouse at that stage because ... I couldn't see anything really happening for me."
Harrington birdied the first three holes to get it to 3-under, but then the lip-outs began. Starting with the seventh hole, he bogeyed four of seven holes to fall back to 1-over. He birdied the 14th before the rain delay, then bogeyed 17.
Harrington would love to be the only player other than Tiger Woods to go back-to-back at the British Open, then win a PGA Championship. Woods did it in 2005-2006. So after his round, Harrington walked off the course and onto the putting green where he worked on his putting for about 10-15 minutes.
"I was just trying to calm down," he said.
And, he did. After using the word "frustrated" about a half-dozen times, he finally let a half-smile creep onto his face.
"The score is good," he said. "And I have to sit down and get that into my head tonight and look that it's only the first round. This is all you want in the first round; you want to keep yourself in there." -- Melanie Hauser (8:58 p.m. ET)
WI FINE: Charlie Wi, playing in his first major, took his opening 70 in stride -- even if he did end the day just two shots off the lead."It's only the first round," he said. "I know it's a major. But you have to take it like any other event. There are still three rounds to go. I've been playing well and it was nice to get off to a good start."
Wi's lone stumble came at the sixth hole where he missed a three-footer and wound up with a six-footer coming back. Double bogey. Other than that, he hit it close most of the day, including a two-foot birdie at the 11th and a three-footer at 12. -- Melanie Hauser (8:57 p.m. ET)
DAY 1 DONE: Play has been called due to darkness at 8:39 p.m. ET, with
18 players still out on the course. Only one of those players is under par -- Andres Romero, who at 2-under has a share of the lead.
Those players still left will finish their first rounds starting at 8 a.m. Friday morning. The second round will begin at its regularly scheduled time of 7:30 a.m. -- Mike McAllister (8:47 p.m. ET)
REIGNING CHAMPS PAIRING: With defending U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods out, 2007 champ Angel Cabrera took his place in the traditional PGA Championship pairing of the three prior winners of this year's majors.
As it turned out, Cabrera had the low round of the threesome. Click on their names below to check out their scorecards. -- Mike McAllister (8:36 p.m. ET)
|Masters||U.S. Open ('07)||British Open|
|Trevor Immelman (+6)||Angel Cabrera (E)||Padraig Harrington (+1)|
ELIAS NOTES: Fresh off the Elias Sports Bureau presses, here are some first-round notes ...
* Robert Karlsson got off to a fast start, making five birdies spanning the second through eighth holes. That's the most birdies that Karlsson has ever made during a seven-hole span in his career on the PGA TOUR. Karlsson birdied the second, third and fourth holes, tying the longest birdie streak of his career. It was only the second time he has birdied three straight at a major, the other time being at the first round of the 1998 PGA Championship.
* Phil Mickelson had an up-and-down start with four bogeys, three birdies and just two pars on the back nine. Two pars on the back nine ties the fewest pars that Mickelson has ever had on either the front or back nine in a major. Phil has managed just two pars on either nine five times before in his career, the last time coming on the front nine of the 2007 Masters when he played five holes over par and two holes under par.
* Padraig Harrington began the first round of the PGA Championship with three straight birdies coming off his victory at this year's Open Championship. This is the first time in the last 25 years the winner of a major has led off the next major tournament with three straight birdies.
* Retief Goosen began the first round with three birdies out of the first four holes. For Goosen, 3-under par is his lowest score through the first four holes in the first round of a major. The last time Goosen was 3-under through the first four holes of a tournament was at the 2006 PLAYERS Championship when he began with three birdies and a par and went on to finish second.
* Sergio Garcia had one of the most steady first rounds of his career at a major. He parred 15 holes, had two birdies, and one bogey to finish at 1 under. This is the highest number of pars Sergio has ever had in the first round of a major.
* Sergio's only hole over par -- the 18th -- tied the second-fewest number of holes played over par in the first round of a major for Garcia. The only time that Sergio played the first round of a major without playing a single hole over par was at the 1999 PGA Championship when he made six birdies and 12 pars to finish at 6-under, a tournament where he was famously outdueled by Tiger Woods. -- (8:13 p.m. ET)
SO WHO'S OUT OF IT? If history is any indicator, then the players who finish 5-over or worse in the first round can kiss their chances of winning the PGA Championship goodbye.
The highest first-round score shot by a winner since 1958 when stroke play was introduced at the event was John Mahaffey's 4-over 75 in 1978 at Oakmont. In 1989, Payne Stewart opened with a 2-over 74 on his way to winning at Kemper Lakes.
So going by those standards, that means players such as current Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Stephen Ames, Adam Scott and Fred Couples all need to pick up the pace as they complete their first rounds either today or Friday morning. All four of those players were at least 5-over or worse when play resumed after the weather delay.
As for the notable names in the morning finishers who apparently have shot themselves out of it in the first round? Here's a roll call:
* Travelers champ Stewart Cink (the Process of Elimination pick), U.S. Bank Championship winner Richard S. Johnson and former U.S. Open winner Corey Pavin are 5-over.
* European stalwart Colin Montgomerie, former Masters champion Zach Johnson, and last week's Legends Reno-Tahoe winner Parker McLachlin are 6-over.
* Last week's Bridgestone Invitational runner-up Lee Westwood and six-time U.S. Ryder Cupper Davis Love III are 7-over.
* RBC Canadian Open winner Chez Reavie and Sony Open winner K.J. Choi are 8-over. -- Mike McAllister (7:30 p.m. ET)
PLAY HAS RESUMED: The players are back on the course, with play officially starting at 6:58 p.m. ET. That's a weather delay of one hour, 25 minutes. You can expect several groups to speed up in hopes of finishing before darkness stops play. -- Mike McAllister (6:58 p.m. ET)
WEATHER UPDATE: Looks like the rain and the worst of the weather has blown through and play will resume shortly before 7 p.m. ET. Players will be taken back out on the course at 6:45 p.m. and will return to action shortly afterwards.
Jonathan Byrd, who is tied for the lead at 2 under, is in the final group of the day. He has nine holes remaining so it's likely he will be returning on Friday morning to finish things up. -- Helen Ross (6:30 p.m.)
RAIN DELAY: The late-afternoon showers that had been in the forecast have arrived, putting the completion of the first round in jeopardy for today. In fact, the question now becomes whether play will even resume Thursday.
None of the 78 players who teed off in the afternoon have completed their rounds. Of those still remaining on the course, just seven are under par for their rounds, led by Retief Goosen and Jonathan Byrd, who are each at 2-under to share the lead with clubhouse leaders Robert Karlsson and Jeev Milkha Singh. -- Mike McAllister (6 p.m. ET)
PLAY SUSPENDED: Due to worsening weather conditions, with potential lightning and oncoming rain in the darkening skies, play was suspended at 5:33 p.m. ET. -- Mike McAllister (5:33 p.m. ET)
BYRD SIGHTING: Oakland Hills is playing tougher for the afternoon group than the morning starts, yet Jonathan Byrd has risen to the top of the leaderboard after his birdie on the par-3 17th (his eighth hole of the day after he started at No. 10) moved him to 3-under.
Byrd played well at the AT&T Classic in May, finishing T4 thanks to a pair of 66s in the first two rounds. But in his seven starts since then on the PGA TOUR, he has failed to finish any higher than his T14 at last week's Legends Reno-Tahoe Open. -- Mike McAllister (5:25 p.m. ET)
LEADING EDGE: So how important is leading the first round in terms of actually winning the PGA Championship?
Just 10 times since the tournament went to stroke play in 1958 has the first-round leader gone on to win the Wanamaker Trophy. Here's the list: -- Stewart Moore (4:45 p.m. ET)
|Year||Player||18-Hole Standing||Winning Margin|
|2005||Phil Mickelson||Tied w/ 5 players||Won by 1 over Elkington, Bjorn|
|2000||Tiger Woods||Tied w/ Dunlap||Won in playoff over May|
|1997||Davis Love III||Tied w/ Daly||Won by 5 over Leonard|
|1994||Nick Price||Tied w/ Montgomerie||Won by 6 over Pavin|
|1983||Hal Sutton||1 over Simpson, Whitten||Won by 1 over Nicklaus|
|1982||Raymond Floyd||3 over Gilder||Won by 3 over Wadkins|
|1969||Raymond Floyd||Tied w/ 8 players||Won by 1 over Player|
|1966||Al Geiberger||Tied w/ Snead||Won by 4 over Wysong|
|1964||Bobby Nichols||3 over Nicklaus, Souchak||Won by 3 over Nicklaus, Palmer|
|1958||Dow Finsterwald||1 over J. Hebert||Won by 2 over Casper|
TOUGH AND EASY UPDATE: Through the first 96 players, the toughest hole thus far is the par-4 18th, which is playing to a stroke average of 4.604. The 498-yard finishing hole has yielded just seven birdies and 36 pars against 42 bogeys, 10 double bogeys and one other.
In fact, three holes have produced at least 10 double bogeys each -- the 18th, the 435-yard par-4 first and the signature hole, the 406-yard par-4 16th.
Meanwhile, just two holes are playing to a stroke average under par -- the par-5 12th (4.692) and the par-5 second (4.699). -- Mike McAllister (4:25 p.m. ET)
O'HAIR EYES RYDER CUP: Sean O'Hair has the Ryder Cup squarely in his sights. That's why it was so difficult to miss a month of competition this summer -- including the U.S. Open where the points are doubled -- after he was injured in a car accident.
"You're watching guys play every weekend and you're kind of throbbing at the mouth a little bit," O'Hair said.
Still, after a tie for third at the RBC Canadian Open and a share of 12th at Firestone last week, O'Hair entered the PGA Championship ranked 13th in the Ryder Cup standings -- just five spots out of an automatic spot on Paul Azinger's team.
And O'Hair, who won the PODS Championship earlier this year, opened with a solid 1-under 69 at Oakland Hills, which has put the 26-year-old right in the thick of things. In more ways than one, too, but the soft-spoken young man knows better than to put the cart before that horse.
"It's in the back of my mind," O'Hair acknowledged. "I really want to play on the team, but thinking about it would get in my way. It almost would make me try too hard to get on the team. So I think if I just focus on what gets me to play well, it will help me get on the team and if I do get on the team, it will help me play well in the Ryder Cup."-- Helen Ross (4:15 p.m. ET)
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Tom Pernice Jr., who was the last player in the field, appears to be making the most of his opportunity after playing his first six holes in 1 under thanks to a birdie at the first hole.
Pernice replaced Alex Cejka who, ironically, had replaced Luke Donald. Donald suffered a partial dislocation to his left wrist during the final round of the U.S. Open and is now contemplating surgery. Cejka cited an arm injury as the reason for his withdrawal. -- Helen Ross (4:14 p.m. ET)
GOOSE FLYING HIGH: Former U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen could be headed to his best opening round in a PGA Championship.
Goosen birdied three of his first five holes and stands atop the leaderboard at 3 under. If he can finish at 3 under, that would give him a 67 -- one better than the 68 he shot at the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
Although Goosen has two U.S. Open victories among his six PGA TOUR wins, he hasn't fared very well at the PGA Championship. His best finish was a T6 in 2005. That remains his only top-10 finish in 10 previous starts. He has missed the cut four times, most recently in 2003 at Oak Hill. -- T.J. Auclair (3:50 p.m.)
CAREER PATH: Brian Gay, who make the turn Thursday afternoon at 2-under, has fond memories of Oakland Hills -- his first career start in a PGA TOUR event came here in the 1996 U.S. Open. Gay carded rounds of 75-77--153 en route to missing the cut. He did not have any PGA TOUR or Nationwide Tour status that year but did play in four Nationwide Tour events. -- Stewart Moore (3:47 p.m. ET)
GOYDOS TESTED: Paul Goydos made history after his opening 4-over 74.
He became the first player drug tested at a major championship.
"I played so well they thought I needed to be tested," Goydos quipped after emerging from the basement of the Oakland Hills clubhouse, where the test was administered. "I guess it's always good to say you were first at something."
Drug testing didn't start until July 1, and no tests were administered at last month's Open Championship.
Goydos, runner-up earlier this year at THE PLAYERS after losing a playoff to Sergio Garcia, was asked if testing was the right thing. Wouldn't it be worth it, he was asked, if someone is caught?
"It's not that it's a good thing if someone is caught. It's a good thing that we show that no one is doing it," Goydos said. "I think that's what you'll see with the game of golf. Unfortunately, we live in a society now where you're guilty until proven innocent, at least when it comes to things like this is sports. It's a shame, but that's what society has come to. " -- Dave Shedloski (3:40 p.m. ET)
A DIFFERENT COURSE: The Oakland Hills course that the players practiced on earlier this week is evidently not the same one they're playing on Thursday. As a result, players were thrown for a loop and had to re-learn the course on the fly Thursday.
"I was surprised at the transition, how different it was from yesterday to today," said Phil Mickelson, who shot an even-par 70. "I thought it would be a little firmer, a little faster, but it got a lot firmer and a lot faster ... That's going to make it play pretty difficult on the weekend unless we get some rain."
Robert Karlsson, who finished with a 2-under 68, echoed Mickelson's sentiments.
"The greens today are way firmer. Way firmer," Karlsson said. "So a lot more difficult today. i would think that there's not going to be many scores under par, definitely not in the afternoon. The greens are a lot quicker as well."
Added Jeev Milkha Singh, who has a share of the clubhouse lead with Karlsson: "I think the golf course played tougher than the practice rounds. I personally felt that the greens got quicker and firmer. And the pin positions were tougher than the practice rounds. But I think it's an excellent golf course. It's a great test of golf and patience."
Paul Casey, who shot 2-over 72, said he didn't mind how much tougher the course is now playing.
"I like the way it's playing," he said. "It's tough, though, on most of the greens. You just see the footprints on the greens, they're leaving little crusty marks there. ... Yeah, it's incredibly long and the rough is very deep and penal, but I like the fact it's firming up. You can get some run on the fairways and if you do hit the fairways, the ball goes a very, very long way. Which is nice." -- Mike McAllister (3:26 p.m. ET)
CADDIE SWAP: Steve Stricker, who opened with a 1-over 71, has decided to keep Jimmy Johnson on the bag through the FedExCup playoffs, a move precipitated by Stricker's wife, Nicki.
Johnson was scheduled to caddie for Stricker at just three events this year, with last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational being the last one. Meanwhile, Nicki, who cadded for her husband regularly until 1998 when the couple began to have children, was planning to take the bag for the other events. But there was Johnson on the bag Thursday at Oakland Hills, and Stricker said he's hired through the rest of the season.
"She pulled herself out of it," Stricker said of his wife, whose father, Dennis Tiziani, is the golf coach at the University of Wisconsin and also is Steve's swing instructor. "The last thing she wanted was to be on the bag and be a story. She knows that the Ryder Cup is big for me this week and she wanted to make sure I was focused on that."
Stricker and Johnson, who used to caddie for Charles Howell III (and before that Nick Price), hooked up prior to the British Open after Stricker's regular bag man, Tom Mitchell, decided to cut back and get off the road to spend more time with his family. -- Dave Shedloski (3:13 p.m. ET)
QUICK QUOTES: A few comments from the morning group finishers:
BILLY MAYFAIR (1-under 69): "I feel confident. Playing good, shooting low scores breeds confidence. I feel very relaxed and like where my golf swing is and (I) just feel comfortable."
SERGIO GARCIA (1-under 69): "Obviously, the round was good. There were a couple of tee shots here and there that I wasn't 100 percent ... but I scrambled niceley. I putted good. I chipped good. I hit a lot of good shots into the greens, and you know, 1-under par on this course -- I'm thrilled with it."
ANTHONY KIM (even-par 70): "I wouldn't say there were a lot of highs and lows. I didn't make enough birdies to get high. I'm trying to think clearly with every decision I make out there and obviously my decision on 18, my ninth hole (where he bogeyed by aiming for the flag instead of the middle of the green), I didn't do a good job of that but I'll start on that tomorrow."
PHIL MICKELSON (even-par 70): "I'm just happy to have shot even par today. I think that after the start, bogeying the first two holes, I thought it was pretty good to hang in there, fight and make some birdies, because there were a lot of holes that were tough to get to. And yet, if you were patient, there were some pin placements you could get to."
LEE WESTWOOD (7-over 77): "I was happy to break 80 after being 7-over after 12 holes. Standing on the 17th tee, I asked my caddie if he could hear the sea as well as I am, sure (that) I could hear my holiday calling. But I dug in there."
OVERCOMING A BAD BEGINNING: Robert Karlsson finished at 2-under 68 despite starting his round with a double-bogey at the difficult opening hole.
"Just made a bit of stupidity and got a bad break," Karlsson said about his first-hole troubles. "It (his approach shot) bounced on the back edge of the green and hit a cart path and ended up over the back -- and that was not the place to be."
But when asked how he recovered from that troubling start to birdie six of the next 10 holes, Karlsson reminded the media that he "actually can play golf, even though it didn't look like that on the first hole."
Karlsson's caddie, Gareth Lord, also helped put the start in perspective, reminding Karlsson that when he was paired with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open, Woods had his difficulties each day with No. 1 at Torrey Pines, but went on to win in a playoff against Rocco Mediate.
"So you can shoot a good round from here as well," Karlsson said. "I was slightly upset, I must say, but I mean it helped obviously with that great ... two-putt on No. 2. I putted from right in the front of the green and just up and over that little ridge and holed a 10-footer.
"If that wouldn't have went in, I probably would not have been sitting here now." (Click here for more on Robert Karlsson.) -- Mike McAllister (2:30 p.m. ET)
PADDY TIME: Will British Open champion Padraig Harrington claim two consecutive majors (and put himself in the driver's seat for Player of the Year honors)? He certainly couldn't have asked for a better start, with birdies at each of his first three holes. That ties him with Heath Slocum atop the leaderboard at 3-under.
Meanwhile, PLAYERS champion Sergio Garcia has put himself right in the mix after opening with a two-birdie, one-bogey round of 69. Garcia will be trying to pull off a rare feat this week. The only player to win THE PLAYERS and the PGA Championship in the same season was Hal Sutton, who claimed both titles in 1983. -- Mike McAllister and Stewart Moore (2:12 p.m. ET)
SINGH VS. SINGH: Just to make sure there's no confusion between Jeev Milkha Singh, who's tied for the clubhouse lead after a fine 2-under 68, and Vijay Singh, who just started his round, here's a quick tale of the tape. -- Mike McAllister (1:40 p.m. ET)
|Category||Jeev Milkha Singh||Vijay Singh|
|Birthplace||Chandigarh, India||Lautoka, Fiji|
|Father was:||Olympic runner||Airplane technician|
|Member of:||European Tour||PGA TOUR|
|Career victories||Asian Tour: 5|
European Tour: 2
Japanese Tour: 2
|PGA TOUR: 32|
European Tour: 11
KARLSSON DONE: Robert Karlsson has finished at 2-under 68, giving him a share of the clubhouse lead with Jeev Milkha Singh. Here are five things you should know about the European Tour player:
* He was born in St. Malm, Sweden, but he currently resides in Monaco (let's see -- Sweden's taxes=60-plus percent; Monoco's taxes=0 percent. Good move!).
* He's the son of a greenskeeper.
* He's 6-foot-5, which makes him one of the tallest players in the field.
* He once shot 124 (for the first two rounds) and 189 (after the third round) at the 2006 Celtic Manor Wales Open, breaking the European Tour's 36-hole and 54-hole scoring records. But the qualifier -- it was on a par-69 course.
* Thursday's round was his best ever in the PGA Championship. In fact, he has only broken 70 one other time in his 20 previous rounds in the event -- in the third round in 2006. That led to his best PGA finish, a T29. -- Mike McAllister (1:05 p.m. ET)
GREAT START FOR 'OTHER' SINGH: Jeev Milkha Singh was the first player Thursday to post a round under par (68). Singh has two runner-up finishes to his credit on the European Tour this year and recorded his best finish in 20 career starts on the PGA TOUR with a tie for 25th at the Masters Tournament in April. -- Stewart Moore (1 p.m. ET)
SEAN SIGHTING: After picking up the second win of his career earlier this season at the PODS Championship, followed by a tie for third the next week at Bay Hill, Sean O?Hair sort of disappeared. He did have a tie for 14th at the Masters, but then slipped into a slump with his game that lasted for three months. An injury he suffered in a car accident prior to the U.S. Open didn't help either.
Thanks to the help of new coach Sean Foley, O'Hair looks to be back on track in a big way in his last two starts. O'Hair followed a tie for third at the RBC Canadian Open with a tie for 12th at last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
The momentum has clearly carried over to the PGA Championship, where O'Hair is at the top of the leaderboard with a 2-under score through 12 holes at Oakland Hills. -- T.J. Auclair (1 p.m. ET)
FURYK SOLID: Jim Furyk has traditionally gotten off to slow starts in the PGA Championship. In the last 10 years, only once has he found himself inside the top 20 after 18 holes (2002, when he was tied with Fred Funk for the lead). So it's obviously a good sign for Furyk that he's fashioning a solid start Thursday.
With two holes left in his round, he's 1 under and should be in good shape heading into Friday's round. -- Stewart Moore (12:40 p.m. ET)
UP-AND-DOWN PHIL: Looks like the rollercoaster ride is continuing for Phil Mickelson.
After opening his PGA Championship on the back nine with consecutive bogeys, the No. 2 player in the world fought back to even par. Then he mixed in another birdie with two more bogeys, including a 5 at the par-4 18th to make the turn in 1-over 36. Mickelson's scorecard through nine holes includes just two pars. -- Dave Shedloski (11:48 a.m. ET)
NEED TO CRANK IT UP: Two of the popular picks to win this week will have to do some catching up just to get back in the hunt.
Lee Westwood, who played so well at the Open Championship and at last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, was 6-over through 10 holes. He bogeyed three of the first five holes (he teed off on No. 10), and then double-bogeyed the notoriously difficult par-4 16th. After making the turn at 40, he then promptly bogeyed the 1st hole to start his back nine.
Meanwhile, K.J. Choi is 4 over through 8 after a double-bogey on the 11th (his second hole), and then bogeys in two of the next three holes. -- Mike McAllister (11:40 a.m. ET)
FIRST HOLE PROVING DIFFICULT: Through the early portion of the first round, the par-4, 435-yard first hole is setting the tone as the most difficult hole on the course. Through the first 60 players on that hole, almost as many players have posted over-par scores there as they have even or better. The totals: two birdies, 30 pars, 22 bogeys and six double bogeys.
Meanwhile, the course's signature hole, the par-4, dogleg right 16th, was playing just the ninth most difficult.-- Mike McAllister (11:38 a.m. ET)
PGA CHAMPS: If you want to follow a former PGA Championship winner in the first two rounds, you can't do much better than the three pairings below. Each player is a former winner of this major. -- Mike McAllister (11:20 a.m. ET)
|Players||Rd. 1 tee time||Rd. 2 tee time|
|Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Rich Beem||8:45 a.m ET||1:55 p.m. ET|
|David Toms, Vijay Singh, John Daly||1:35 p.m. ET||8:25 a..m. ET|
|Steve Elkington, Mark Brooks, Bob Tway||1:50 p.m. ET||8:40 a.m. ET|
MAJOR TOP 10s: As pointed out in an earlier note, Robert Karlsson -- who made the turn at 3-under 32 to grab the early-morning lead -- is the only player to record top-10 finishes in each of the first three majors this year. Here are the players with top 10s in at least two of the first three majors of 2008. -- Stewart Moore (10:25 a.m. ET)
|Player||Masters||U.S. Open||British Open|
|Miguel Angel Jimenez||T8||T||MC|
WILL HAAS BE THE BOSS?: If experience counts, look for Jay Haas to do well this week. And no, not because he's 54 years young.
Haas is the only player in the field to have played in the last three majors -- and the 2004 Ryder Cup -- held at Oakland Hills. He tied for seventh at the 1979 PGA Championship, shared 15th at the 1985 U.S. Open and was joint 90th at the 1996 U.S. Open.
Haas also posted a 1-2-1 record in the lopsided U.S. loss at the 2004 Ryder Cup.
Corey Pavin and Paul Azinger both played in the 1985 and '96 U.S. Open. There are
30 players in the field who competed in the 1996 U.S. Open with Tom Lehman and Davis Love III the high finishers in a tie for second, one stroke behind the champion, Steve Jones. -- Helen Ross (10:15 a.m. ET)
PHIL STRUGGLING: It has been a shaky start for 2005 PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson. Lefty started on No. 10 at Oakland and proceeded to go bogey-bogey. Two holes into the 90th PGA Championship and he's already 2 over.
Mickelson entered the final round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational last Sunday tied for the 54-hole lead with Vijay Singh and Lee Westwood. Mickelson was in the hunt until he made bogey on each of the final two holes to miss out on a playoff with Singh by two shots.
Those two bogeys on the final two holes at Firestone, along with the two bogeys to start here at Oakland Hills means 4-over for Mickelson in his last four competitive holes.
Not good. -- T.J. Auclair (9:55 a.m. ET)
MOTOWN POLITICIAN: The winner of this week's major can be excused if he's dancing in the streets on Sunday evening.
But the original singer of "Dancing In The Streets" -- Martha Reeves of Martha and The Vandelles fame -- was already celebrating here in Detroit after winning a seat on the city council. The Motown legend has always had a voice, but now she's using it as a force for change in the city.
No word if she'll make a victory appearance here at Oakland Hills this week. -- Melanie Hauser (9:45 a.m. ET)
GEORGIA GRAD: As Augusta Chronicle columnist Scott Michaux reports, Bubba Watson is playing his first tournament as a Georgia grad. Watson passed his Regents Exam, got his final two credits and now has his degree in consumer economics. University officials called him last week to tell him. -- Melanie Hauser (9:40 a.m. ET)
RAPID ROBERT: Robert Karlsson, the only player to have top-10s finishes in the three previous majors this season, is at it again.
The 38-year-old Swede has played his first six holes in 2 under -- but it's been an adventurous ride. He made double bogey on the first hole but birdied the next three to get into red numbers for the first time. A birdie at the sixth hole then put him in a share of the lead with John Mallinger, Jeev Milkha Singh and D.J. Trahan.
Karlsson, a seven-time winner on the European Tour, tied for eighth at the Masters, shared fourth at the U.S. Open and tied for seventh at the Open Championship. -- Helen Ross (9:35 a.m. ET)
FAST STARTS: Players who can post a low score in the first round obviously can feel good about their chances for the rest of the week. But a fast start isn't always a precursor to a high finish. Check out the best opening rounds in PGA Championship history since the start of stroke play 50 years ago. (Note: Not all of the players below led after the first round). -- Mike McAllister (9:30 a.m. ET)
|Best opening rounds|
|1982||Southern Hills||Raymond Floyd||63 (7-under)||Winner|
|1993||Riviera||Michael Bradley||63 (8 under)||T54|
|1964||Columbus||Bobby Nichols||64 (6-under)||Winner|
|1985||Cherry Hills||Doug Tewell||64 (7-under)||T12|
|1993||Inverness||Scott Simpson||64 (7-under)||T6|
|1995||Riviera||Jim Gallagher Jr.||64 (7-under)||T44|
|1995||Riviera||Mark O'Meara||64 (7-under)||T6|
|2001||Atlanta AC||Grant Waite||64 (6-under)||T59|
|1983||Riviera||Hal Sutton||65 (6-under)||Winner|
|1986||Inverness||Greg Norman||65 (6-under)||2nd|
|1993||Inverness||Lanny Wadkins||65 (6-under)||T14|
|1995||Riviera||John Adams||65 (6-under)||T49|
|2004||Whistling Straits||Darren Clarke||65 (7-under)||T13|
|2007||Southern Hills||Graeme Storm||65 (5-under)||T62|
OUT FAST: D.J. Trahan started in style. The 27-year-old, who is playing in his second PGA Championship, eagled the second hole at Oakland Hills, a 529-yard par 5.
The eagle helped Trahan jump to the top of the leaderboard in the very early stages of round 1.
Trahan didn't play in the Open Championship a few weeks back at Royal Birkdale, but he did rack up his best-ever finish in a major back in June with a tie for fourth in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Trahan could be a factor this week at Oakland Hills. He notched the second win of his career early in the season at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and has four other top-20 finishes. -- T.J. Auclair (8:55 a.m. ET)
WEATHER OUTLOOK: The players with early-morning tee times may have a slight advantage today, with partly cloudy skies, mild temperatures, no precipitation expected and winds out of the northwest between 8-12 mph.
The 2 p.m. ET forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of precipitation, with winds gusting up to 20 mph. By 6 p.m., the chance of precipitation will increase to 50 percent, with similar gusts. -- Mike McAllister (9 a.m. ET)