BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Oakland Hills grudgingly gave up low scores in the opening round of the 90th PGA Championship on Thursday.
The Monster, as Ben Hogan called the long and difficult course, also refused to let anyone pull away.
Retief Goosen, a player with a game built for difficult layouts, birdied three of the first four holes but bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9 dropped him into a tie for the lead at 2 under midway through his round. Still on the course at 2 under was Jonathan Byrd, who had held the lead by himself until bogeying the 18th, his ninth hole of the day.
Play was suspended at 5:33 p.m. when a storm front rolled into the area and heavy rains pounded the course. The players marked their golf balls and headed for shelter while the galleries looked for a place to wait out the delay.
Robert Karlsson and Jeev Milkha Singh were the clubhouse leaders with 2-under 68s on a breezy and temperate day at the old country club in the suburbs of Detroit.
Among those at 1 under and yet to finish the round were Brian Gay, Michael Allen, Brandt Snedeker, Mark Calcavecchia and Andres Romero.
Already in with 1-under 69s were Sergio Garcia, Billy Mayfair, Ken Duke and Sean OHair, another player who had a share of the lead at one time.
Garcia is among a contingent trying to end a 78-year drought since the last European (Tommy Armour of Scotland in 1930) won the PGA Championship.
Phil Mickelson recovered from a slow start to finish with a 70 that left him tied with Anthony Kim, Ryan Moore and Rod Pampling.
With two-time defending champion Tiger Woods recovering from knee surgery back home in Florida, few expected anyone to run away with the tournament. But that became an impossibility when gusting winds and sunshine dried out the already fast greens, making them about as easy to putt on as a basketball court.
Garcia, chasing his first major championship, shot a 69 and then pronounced he was thrilled with it. Lee Westwood labored to a 77 and said he was happy to break 80.
The co-leaders in the clubhouse both played early in the day, before the winds picked up and before the greens got crispy.
Karlsson, a 6-foot-5 Swede who is the only player to place in the top 10 of all three previous majors this year, was in one of the first groups off the tee. He double-bogeyed the par-4 opening hole, but righted himself with birdies on the next three. He got to 4 under with a birdie at 11 and then had consecutive bogeys before limping home with his 68.
He felt the wind pick up as he putted out on the final hole and promptly said, Theres not going to be many scores under par. Definitely not in the afternoon.
Karlsson used to try too hard rather than taking what the golf course would give him.
I couldnt see how my golf was good enough to get around these kinds of golf courses, he said. I tried to play it too difficult and for a while I just saw big rough and I couldnt play.
Singh, no relation to the three-time major champion Vijay Singh of Fiji, is playing in his second PGA Championship. He tied for 25th at the Masters earlier this year.
The most important thing to learn at a major championship is to stay patient, because they are going to test your patience, said Singh, the son of an Olympic sprinter who competed for India in 1960. Youre going to get some bad breaks, youre going to hit some shots in the rough and you sometimes cant get it out. I think the key is to stay patient.
Vijay Singh, who won last weeks tournament at Firestone, was 4 over through 10 holes.
After Ben Curtis caught Goosen at 3 under with a birdie on his 10th hole, he fell back with bogeys on three of his next four holes. He was on the course at even-par along with Charlie Wi, Angel Cabrera, David Toms, Ernie Els, J.B. Holmes and two-time defending British Open champion Padraig Harrington.
Goosen has two U.S. Open titles but has never played well at the PGA ' hes only cracked the top 20 once, when he tied for sixth in 2005 at Baltusrol. He held the lead for most of his round until the late bogeys on the front nine.
Three American favorites made runs at the lead only to falter at the finish.
Kim and Jim Furyk each climbed into a tie for the lead, only to fall back with late bogeys. Furyk bogeyed his final three holes to finish at 1 over. Kim got to 2 under but closed with two bogeys and had a 70. Mickelson also finished with a bogey on the difficult par-3 ninth.