Thoughts from Round 1 of the PGA Championship

Thursday, 9:30 p.m.

Play has been suspended for darkness, leaving eight groups on the course that will have to complete their first round Tuesday morning.

Jeev Milkha Singh, a.k.a. “The Other Singh”, shares the lead in the clubhouse wiht Robert Karlsson and with Andres Romero, who is 2 under through 16 holes. 

An interesting first round that included some up-and-down rounds. Phil Mickelson found three bunkers before reaching the second green and was 2 over early, then righted the ship and played pretty well to get in with an even par 70. Retief Goosen got as low as 4 under before bogeys on five of the next nine holes slumped him in the field. 

The thing is, this is a pretty stocked leaderboard, with some real heavyweights all within four shots of each other. Friday’s second round will be a very important day.

6:10 p.m.

Well, that may save the winning score from par. A storm front poured into Oakland Hills and pounded the course with heavy rains Thursday evening, sure to soften up the greens and fairways and make playing conditions a little more palatable for the rest of the week.

Whether the first round is completed today or not, here are a few things that caught my eye.

I always tend to lead with Phil Mickelson, probably because he’s the most mercurial player in golf. He looked pretty darn good for most of his round on Thursday, though, teeing off relatively early and getting to his last hole, the treacherous par-3 ninth, at 1 under.

But Lefty left his tee shot a bit short and missed a tough 3-footer for par to finish with a bogey and fall to even for the round. Still, he’s right there and didn’t play himself out of the tournament like he did last month.

Please, for the love of God, will the real Retief Goosen please stand up?

Look out for Sergio Garcia. He played great at “The Monster” in the Ryder Cup in 2004, and after a first-round 69, he’s going to be in the hunt.

How about the Billy Mayfair sighting?

Such an interesting golf course. A tough, tough, yet birdieable first hole followed by a reachable par-5 and scoring chances through 4. You can get off to a great start here.

Few realize how good and how steady Robert Karlsson is. The big Swede, who shares the lead after a 68, was eighth at the Masters, fourth at the U.S. Open and seventh at the British Open. Wow.

Sean O’Hair could hang around a while. Doesn’t make a lot of birdies, but is steady. That’s what will win here.

The same goes for Brandt Snedeker, who was 1 under through 12 holes when the weather hit. He’s a good putter and is solid, but not great, at everything else. He missed the cut at the British, but was third at Augusta and finished ninth in the Open. Plus, he has the Ryder Cup team within reach with a good finish this week.

I still like Andres Romero to break through soon. 

Anthony Kim fired a even 70. With that in the books, he could be the guy to beat right now. Seriously.

Boy, did Jim Furyk fall apart late. He got it to 2 under at one point but finished with three straight bogeys to fall to 1 over. Still, he’s in it.

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Filed under British Open, Designated Hitter, Golf, PGA Championship, PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Sports, Sports columns, The Masters, The Sanford Herald, Tiger Woods, U.S. Open

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