Par is precious at this years PGA

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
Follow the 90th PGA Championship all week on GOLF CHANNEL. Click for our TV schedule!
 
2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD 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.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Getty Images

    Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:31 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.

    Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.

    Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.

    “It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”

    The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    “I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.

    A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.

    “I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.

    He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.

    “It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”

    Getty Images

    Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:18 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

    Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.

    “It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.

    He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.

    Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    “I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”

    Getty Images

    Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 10:45 pm

    Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

    Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.

    With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.

    All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.

    “This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship


    Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.

    “It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.

    Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.

    “Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”

    Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

    “My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”

    Getty Images

    Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 10:12 pm

    We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.

    Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.

    If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.

    It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.

    Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.