Bellerive: The golf course at the Bellerive Country Club did give me back a long overdue putt as I was about to leave for the day after the first round of the 100th PGA Championships on Thursday evening.
I had as many as five birdies and I also gave away five bogeys. And yes, I also missed a bunch of short putts. So a roller-coaster indeed!
I am lying T-48th, while Shubhankar (Sharma) is T-33rd. He played superbly for his first round in the 60s at a Major. There are many more on the way.
Tiger Woods finished at even par after some early scares, but from here he can still build on and be a factor over the weekend.
Through the day the greens just did not give me anything. Time and again I missed short ones - I reckon I missed something 3-4 putts inside six feet, so the last one from something between 35-40 feet was something the golf course owed me. That did perk me up a bit after a day, when I super disappointed at missing what could have been a three or four under.
We were the second last group, by which time the greens had seen so much of traffic. There was a lot of wear and tear on the greens, but that was expected. The ball never seemed to be travelling all along the ground.”
So, I am really looking forward to going out early and getting the first use of the greens. Today, being the second last group was indeed tough. As far as ball striking goes, I was fine, but I left the momentum slip too many times with bogeys following birdies. I feel I am playing much better than what I scored today.
I need to hit my mid-irons better and that’s what I went to work on at the range after the round.
Shubhankar (Sharma) did a great job with his 69, though I later saw that he could have been even better at two-under but for the last bogey. Anyway, the round showed that his game in great shape and he should do well this week.
I was surprised that the scoring was not lower given that in the morning there was not much wind and greens would have been much better to putt on. In the afternoon the wind was up.
I was expecting a lot of bunching up at 1-under to 1-over and that’s what has happened, but I would thought someone would have shot 7-under. Ultimately Gary Woodland did get to 6-under and Rickie Fowler was 5-under.
South African Brandon Stone, who had a stunning 60 in the final round at Scottish Open, and two-time major winner Zach Johnson are third at 4-under 66.
There was a big crowd at 3-under 67 and it included Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter among others with Kevin Kisner, Justin Rose and 2016 PGA Championship winner Jason Day, also in the group. Defending champion Justin
Thomas, who won last week at the WGC-Bridgestone shot 69.