KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – It was a solid start for Tiger Woods. Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson can’t say the same.
Looking to end his major-less drought, Woods turned in a 3-under 69 Thursday at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course for the 94th PGA Championship.
Teeing off on the back nine with Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer, Woods started slowly and was 1 over after five holes. But three straight birdies, on Nos. 18, 1 and 2, got him back into contention. He ended his first round three shots back of leader Carl Pettersen, who shot a 6-under 66.
He did find some trouble Thursday – he found a hazard on No. 4 and made bogey, and missed a short birdie on the par-3 fifth – but he made up for it on the greens. He hit only 10 of 18 greens, but his 22 putts saved him.
Mickelson put himself in tough spots on nearly every hole and finished with a 1-over 73 – not a great round considering the number of golfers who shot under par Thursday. Donald double bogeyed the par-3 17th and would end his day at 2 over.
Other notable rounds from Thursday: Rory McIlroy’s 5-under 67, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell’s 68s, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, Lee Westwood’s 75 and Kaymer’s 79.
Woods has picked up three PGA Tour victories this season, but hasn’t had as much success in the majors. He finished T-40 at the Masters, was T-21 at the U.S. Open after sharing the 36-hole lead and then picked up his best major finish in more than three years at the Open Championship at T-3.
Only Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus have won more Wanamaker trophies, but Woods gave himself a chance to capture his fifth title with his round Thursday.
Here’s a look at how Tiger’s round unfolded, along with how the afternoon groups fared:
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Update #24: 7 p.m. EDT
After being 1 under on the front nine, Phil Mickelson closed with a 2-over back nine to finish with a 1-over 73. It wasn’t a pretty round for Lefty – he put himself in bad spots on nearly every hole – but he did close with four pars, including one at No. 18, where he missed the green left and then chipped well past the hole on his third shot. His playing partner, Padraig Harrington, finished with a 2-under 70.
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Update #23: 6:47 p.m. EDT
After getting himself back to even, Luke Donald gave two right back, making double at the par-3 17th. He would finish with par at No. 18, capping a 2-over 74. Also, Graeme McDowell is 4 under after making a 5-footer for birdie at the par-5 16th.
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Update #22: 6:40 p.m. EDT
Luke Donald is back to even after a birdie at the par-5 16th – his third birdie of the day. Also, Zach Johnson made his fourth birdie of the day after hitting his tee shot to less than a foot at the par-3 17th. He’s at even with one hole left. Justin Rose has five birdies, including his last one – a 40-footer at No. 15. Meanwhile, Bubba Watson notched just two birdies and ended up shooting 1-over 73.
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Update #21: 6:23 p.m. EDT
K.T. Kim is back at 4 under after making a 30-footer for birdie at the par-5 seventh. Dropping, however, is K.J. Choi, who has two straight bogeys and is 3 under with five holes to play. Also, some under-par afternoon rounds are finishing up. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is done for the day at 5-under 67, Aaron Baddeley carded a 4-under 68 and Charl Schwartzel wrapped up a 2-under 70.
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Update #20: 6:09 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson is starting to struggle mightily. He missed his eighth fairway of the day at No. 15 and then followed that by sending his approach right of the green and into a sandy area. That made it just 7 of 15 greens hit for Lefty. He has eight one-putts after saving par, but still, not a sharp round for Phil, who is 1 over with three holes left. Someone who is having a strong round is Adam Scott. Scott is 4 under through 17 holes. He birdies the par-5 16th and then made a great par save on the par-3 17th, chipping to about 6 inches after sending his tee shot left of the green.
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Update #19: 5:57 p.m. EDT
Odd moment at the par-5 16th for Sergio Garcia. Garcia found the fairway with his tee shot and was looking at reaching the green in two. But as he addressed the club and did a few waggles, his club face touched his ball, moving it about an inch or so forward. Garcia was forced to replace the ball and take a one-shot penalty. He then sent his third shot over the green and ended up making bogey. He’s at 4 over for the tournament. Also, Phil Mickelson has dropped a shot, moving back to 1 over after a bogey at the par-3 14th. Lefty had birdied his first two par 3s today.
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Update #18: 5:49 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson is still stuck at even. It’s been an up-and-down round for Lefty. He’s followed every bogey with a birdie on either the next hole or the hole after. He has five holes left in his first round and has strung together three straight pars. Also not making a lot of noise is Luke Donald. Considered one of the favorites entering the week, Donald is 1 over. He’s bogeyed two of his last three holes and has four holes left.
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Update #17: 5:37 p.m. EDT
Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano closed his round this afternoon with par, finishing with a 5-under 67. He had a 25-footer for birdie on No. 18, but left it just short after reading the severe right-to-left break well. Fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez is also faring well today. He’s 4 under through 14 after making a tough left-to-right 12-footer for birdie on No. 4. Also, K.J. Choi has moved to 5 under thanks to three straight birdies on Nos. 9-11. He’s got four in his last five holes.
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Update #16: 5:25 p.m. EDT
K.T. Kim just dropped back to 4 under after finding the hazard at No. 4. He bogeyed the hole. Also, a bunch of big names out on the course still sit at even: Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Luke Donald.
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Update #15: 5:18 p.m. EDT
K.T. Kim and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are leading the afternoon wave today. They are both at 5 under, one shot behind clubhouse leader Carl Petterssen. Fernandez-Castano has birdied his last two holes heading into his last hole of the day – No. 18. Kim has three birdies in his last four holes. His latest came at the par-4 third. Kim has six holes left in his opening round.
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Update #14: 5:14 p.m. EDT
Matt Kuchar is back at even thanks to his first birdie of the day – a 10-foot make at the par-5 11th. Kuchar bogeyed his first hole of the day – the par-4 No. 1 hole – before nine straight pars. Also back at even is Bubba Watson, who is 2 under in his last three holes.
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Update #13: 5:11 p.m. EDT
Right behind Dustin Johnson in the Ryder Cup standings, Bo Van Pelt was 2 under through 11 holes. But a triple bogey at the par-4 third hole has dropped Van Pelt to 1 over. Brandt Snedeker is dropping back as well. Snedeker is 5 over through 12 holes and is 4 over in his past three holes.
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Update #12: 4:50 p.m. EDT
Here’s a little Ryder Cup watch. Hunter Mahan was ninth in the standings entering this tournament followed by Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson. Mahan is making a good case to be on the team: he’s 2 under through 12 holes. Fowler is 1 under through 13 and Johnson is also at 1 under after shooting 71 today. Furyk is finish at even, and Stricker is 2 over and done for the day as well. Snedeker has really struggled this afternoon and is 3 over after 10 holes.
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Update #11: 4:42 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson gets into trouble on No. 10. He finds a waste area – a mix of tall grass and sand – left of the green and fails to get up and down to save par. He bogeys to fall back to even.
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Update #10: 4:20 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson has gotten off to a great start – well, great considering his recent struggles. Lefty is 1 under at the turn. He has birdied both par 3s on the front – Nos. 5 and 8 – as well as the par-5 second. More importantly, he’s got a big smile on his face. Phil definitely happy about his first nine holes here at Kiawah.
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Update #9: 4:11 p.m. EDT
Jamie Donaldson, Francesco Molinari, K.T. Kim and Aaron Baddeley all have recent birdies to move to 3 under. Donaldson just birdied the par-5 second, Molinari the par-5 11th, Kim the par-4 18th and Baddeley the par-4 first hole.
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Update #8: 4:01 p.m. EDT
Luke Donald is about to finish his front nine. He started off with a bogey on No. 1, but two straight birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 have him at 1 under through eight holes.
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Update #7: 3:58 p.m. EDT
Gonzalez Fernandez-Castano is now just two off the lead at 4 under thanks to a birdie – his second straight and fourth of the day – at the par-4 12th. Also, Graeme McDowell drained his third birdie of the day, his latest coming at the par-4 sixth to move him to 2 under.
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Update #6: 3:47 p.m. EDT
How’s Phil Mickelson doing? He’s even after six holes. Lefty began with a bogey on No. 1 and then book-ended a birdie on No. 2 with another bogey on the third hole. He then moved back to even with birdie at the par-3 fifth.
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Update #5: 3:43 p.m. EDT
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano just birdied the par-4 11th to move to 3 under. On the other end of the spectrum, Webb Simpson is struggling. The 2012 U.S. Open champion is 5 over through eight holes. Speaking of 2012 major winners, Bubba Watson, this year’s Masters champ, is 2 over after eight holes and 2012 Open Championship winner Ernie Els is 1 under through eight.
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Update #4: 3:36 p.m. EDT
Charl Schwartzel has climbed the highest up the leaderboard of anybody teeing off this afternoon. He is 3 under through nine holes. A bunch of other late-tee time golfers are at 2 under, including Adam Scott (through eight holes) and Bo Van Pelt (through seven).
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Update #3: 3 p.m. EDT
Joost Luiten had gotten as low as 8 under, but four straight bogeys to close his first round dropped him back to 4 under. He’s two back of leader Carl Petterssen, who turned in a 6-under 66. He leads Rory McIlroy and Gary Woodland by one shot. Other notable rounds from the morning: John Daly (4-under 68), Keegan Bradley (68), Dustin Johnson (71), Jim Furyk (72), Jason Dufner (74) and Martin Kaymer (79).
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No. 9, par 4, 494 yards
Last hole for Tiger, who is coming off his first birdie on a par 3 today. It’s a sticky day out at Kiawah although a nice breeze is starting to pick up. Let’s see if Tiger can finish his round strong. A little factoid: Tiger has missed the cut only once – last year at Atlanta Athletic Club (14 starts; didn’t play in 2008)
Off the tee: Tiger wipes his hands off and then readdresses the ball. He hits 3-wood right, pushing it a little into the right intermediate rough.
Approach shot: Tiger tries to force it a little and comes up about a club short. He’s not happy at all. He takes a violent swing with his club after his shot.
Around the green: Tiger is chipping for birdie and turns in a great flop shot to about 2 feet.
On the green: Tiger finishes with a par. Solid round: 3-under 69.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (Thru 18 holes, 3 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: The morning groups are beginning to wrap up their rounds. Joost Luiten, however, still has four holes left and leads by two shots at 7 under.
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No. 8, par 3, 198 yards
Tiger birdied just one of the par 5s today. Now he’s got one more par 3. He played his last par 3 very nicely off the tee, but then missed a 4-footer for birdie. No. 8 has a back-right hole location with the green sloping down toward the hole. Should favor Tiger’s shot.
Off the tee: Tiger turns in another nice tee ball on a par 3. He lands in the middle of the green and runs the ball down the slope and to about 5 feet of the hole.
On the green: The putt flirts with the right edge but goes in to give Tiger his sixth birdie of the day.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (Thru 17 holes, 3 under for the tournament)
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No. 7, par 5, 579 yards
Tiger is slowing down a bit. He’s missed two of his last three greens in regulation. Those misses bookend a bad miss for a short birdie on No. 5. Now comes the last par 5 of the day, which could benefit Woods as it has a lot of room left off the tee – the ideal shot is to the right side of the fairway, but that brings a sandy area into play.
Off the tee: Tiger pulls out driver as people hang from trees behind the tee box. Tiger drives it down the right side and into a sandy area. He’s content with that one as he shouldn’t be in too bad of shape.
Second shot: Tiger has a good lie but will have to get it up in a hurry. Not extremely difficult, but not easy either. Woods plays it out into the fairway and has a wedge into the green.
Third shot: Tiger gets a lot of spin, but lands to the right of the hole and watches his ball spin back to about 20 feet.
On the green: Tiger leaves his birdie putt short. He’s a little tentative on that stroke. He taps in his 1-footer for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Thru 16 holes, 2 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Joost Luiten has pulled ahead. He’s 6 under through 11 holes. He leads Rory McIlroy, Carl Petterssen and Gary Woodland, who’s in with a 5-under 67, by one shot. Also, Keegan Bradley is back to 3 under after making a long birdie putt on No. 7.
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No. 6, par 4, 480 yards
Tough break for Tiger on No. 5 just missing that birdie putt. He put a lot of pace on it for a 4-footer. Woods’ career scoring average at the PGA Championship is 70.13 – he’s 49 under in 54 rounds played – and he’s on pace for that with four holes to play.
Off the tee: Tiger hits his 3-wood down the middle – a beautiful stinger for Woods.
Approach shot: Tiger’s approach hits the green right of the pin, but rolls off the right side and about halfway down the swail. Tiger then rehearses his swing behind Keegan Bradley in the fairway.
Around the green: Tiger makes a decent stroke, but it’s not quite firm enough as Tiger just misses left.
On the green: Short tap-in for par for Tiger.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Thru 15 holes, 2 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Make it a quartet of leaders at 5 under as Gary Woodland joins the fold with just one hole remaining for his round.
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No. 5, par 3, 188 yards
Rough last hole by Tiger and now he enters another par 3. He’s struggled at the par 3s today (1 over with two missed greens). A huge sandy area guards the front and left sides of the green at No. 5. The pin is front-left as well. Could be a problem hole if one misses left.
Off the tee: Tiger responds with a great shot. He’s 4 feet away and has a shot to get one right back.
On the green: Tiger’s birdie putt hit the left edge and lips out. That one hurts after a great tee ball. He settles for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Thru 14 holes, 2 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy joins the leaders at 5 under after a birdie at the par-4 sixth. Rory has five birdies through 15 holes.
• • •
No. 4, par 4, 458 yards
Tiger, who has two second-place finishes, in 2002 and 2009, just missed an opportunity to make a fourth birdie in a row. He’s still playing well and is two back of the leaders. No. 4 has a hazard that goes across the fairway. It’s about 300 yards out. The green isn’t raised like most of the ones at Kiawah, but two sandy areas t the right-front of the green pose a problem for approach shots.
Off the tee: Tiger chooses 3-wood and doesn’t like his shot from the start. A “fore!” is necessary as Tiger’s tee shot fails to fade. He could be in trouble.
Third shot: Tiger’s ball does indeed find the hazard. He has to take a drop on a compacted-sand cart path. Woods smacks his bag in disgust. He’s not very happy. “Hit a [expletive] fairway,” he says. Tiger then decides on a longer club for his third shot after a discussion with Lacava, but he finds one of the two sandy areas on the front-right of the green.
Around the green: Tiger needs to hole this to save par, but leaves it 3 feet short.
On the green: Tiger makes bogey to drop back a shot.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Thru 13 holes, 2 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Carl Petterssen has joined Joost Luiten in the lead at 5 under. Rory McIlroy and John Daly still one back of lead.
• • •
No. 3, par 4, 390 yards
The playing conditions have been mighty favorable so far today with many golfers under par so far. Among those is Tiger, coming off a third straight birdie. He’ll now have the short par-4 third hole to deal with. Two live oaks and a little waste area in the middle of the fairway keep many players from driving or getting too close to the top-hat green, so we should see a 3- or 5-wood from Tiger.
Off the tee: It’s 5-wood as Tiger smashes it into the fairway.
Approach shot: As expected, Tiger leaves a short iron into the green and he capitalizes nicely. He sticks it to about 8 feet.
On the green: Facing a potential fourth-straight birdie, Tiger – again dealing with a bee flying around him – just misses. The ball doesn’t break right like Woods expected. He taps in for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (Thru 12 holes, 3 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Martin Kaymer continues to struggle as he falls apart on No. 3. Kaymer needs three chips from rough well below the hole to find the green and ends up with triple bogey, dropping to 6 over.
• • •
No. 2, par 5, 557 yards
Tiger is just two back of leader Carl Petterssen (4 under) after his second straight birdie and fourth of the day. Now comes the par-5 second hole, which features a double-dogleg, with two forced carries. Players will probably opt for less than a driver and favor the left side. The green is propped up and is protected in the front by a large sand dune.
Off the tee: Tiger hits 3-wood over the first carry – some marsh that is about 270 yards out – and finds the fairway.
Second shot: Tiger will try and find the green in two from about 250 yards out. The green is not a big green by any means and holding it from that far out could be a challenge. Tiger opts for a 5-wood and his ball hits the green, but rolls off the back and into some sand. Tiger yells, “Bite! Get Down!” immediately after hitting it.
Third shot: Tiger gets out of the sand, hitting his shot from the waste area to about 10 feet to set up a possible birdie.
On the green: Tiger takes an aggressive uphill stroke and sinks it for his third straight birdie. Putting stroke looking good for Tiger.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (Thru 11 holes, 3 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy found a share of the lead at 4 under after his fourth birdie of the day, but Joost Luiten’s eagle at No. 16 moved him to 5 under. He now leads McIlroy, Carl Petterssen and John Daly by a shot.
• • •
No. 1, Par 4, 396 yards
Tiger makes the turn at 1 under after his third birdie of the back nine – Tiger’s front nine – at No. 18. He has a chance to take advantage of a fairly easy first hole to begin his final nine holes of the day.
Off the tee: Good start to these final nine holes by Tiger. He opts for 3-wood and finds the fairway.
Approach shot: With about 130 yards in, Tiger gets his wedge to stick about 8 feet from the pin.
On the green: Tiger reads this one perfectly, a little right to left, and buries the birdie.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (Thru 10 holes, 2 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: PGA Championship leader Ken Duke has a good history in this area. He won the 2011 Web.com Tour Championship at Daniel Island Club in nearby Charleston to earn his 2012 PGA Tour card. Duke entered last year’s Web.com Tour finale at 36th on the money list – the top 25 earn cards – but the $180,000 first-place check was enough for Duke to regain his Tour card. He has six top-10s this season. (From Sean Martin)
• • •
No. 18, par 4, 501 yards
Nice little par save from Tiger on the last hole. The dogleg right on No. 18 is too far to carry, so players should lay up left to set up a 200-yard-or-so approach to the green.
Off the tee: Tiger aims a little left and plays a nice cut with his driver. Perfect tee ball as Tiger has hammered into the middle of the fairway.
Approach shot: Tiger follows up his drive with a solid approach. He’s one the dance floor and about 25 feet or so from the hole.
On the green: Tiger could use this one and he gets the birdie to move into the red.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (Thru 9 holes, 1 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: After a hot start, Keegan Bradley drops back to 1 under after three-putting for bogey.
• • •
No. 17, par 3, 223 yards
Another difficult par 3 with water surrounding a good portion of the green on the front and right sides. Tiger struggled at the last par 3, so he’ll try and redeem himself here.
Off the tee: Tiger backs of once and the hits. He hates it immediately as he sends it left with a low liner. Tiger is not happy.
Around the green: Wide stance on a severe downslope in the rough, Tiger gets it on the green but is still 7 feet short.
On the green: He needs this one and gets it. Nice up and down there.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (Thru 8 holes, even for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: We have a John Daly sighting near the top of the leaderboard. Daly is 2 under and two back of leader Ken Duke. He has two birdies through eight holes.
• • •
No. 16, par 5, 581 yards
Well, Tiger needed that one. After hitting just his second green in regulation of the day, Tiger makes his second birdie to get back to even. In his four wins, Tiger has never ranked worse than 8th in greens in regulation. (8th in 1999, 1st in 2000, 1st in 2006, 4th in 2007) He now moves on to No. 16, the second par 5 of his round. This hole features a double dogleg with a huge sand dune in play right off the tee and left on the second shot. The second one guards the front of the green with some lay-up room to the right. Players will try to take advantage of the hole, which could produce a lot of birdies.
Off the tee: With driver, Tiger hammers it into the left rough. He’ll more than likely be forced to lay up.
Second shot: No surprise here. Tiger lays up to the middle of the fairway.
Third shot:Tiger notches his second GIR in a row, sticking his wedge shot to about 10 feet.
On the green: Tiger thought it would break more right on that one and settles for a two-putt par. He’s definitely disappointed as he hands his putter to caddie Joe Lacava.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (Thru 7 holes, even for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Ken Duke has birdied half of his holes so far. He’s got five through 10 holes and leads at 4 under.
• • •
No. 15, par 4, 444 yards
Tiger doesn’t look too upset walking off the 14th green despite making his second straight bogey. His last two tee shots have cost him dearly. Scrambling will be key this week at dangerous Kiawah. There’s a lot of landing area on the 15th fairway, though.
Off the tee: Tigers opts for driver and drills it down the middle of the fairway. Perfect.
Approach shot: After a long wait because of a poor tee ball by Martin Kaymer, Tiger plays a low liner that hits the green and spins right to about 18 feet from the cup. Tiger is ticked, saying, “Seriously?”
On the green: Tiger drains the birdie putt anyways as his ball runs out of steam right at the hole.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (Thru 6 holes, even for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Jim Furyk just doubled the par-5 16th to fall out of the lead. On the other hand, Rory McIlroy birdied No. 16 to move to 3 under and into a share of the lead with Ken Duke, Carl Petterssen and Cameron Tringale.
• • •
No. 14, par 3, 238 yards
All the par 3s at the Ocean Course are challenging. This particular one features a perched green that rolls steeply off the back side, which is where the pin is – back left. There’s a big waste area on the left that’s about 9 feet or so below the green. Making par will be a challenge if you don’t get on the green. Tiger has hit just one green so far today – he found the fringe on No. 12.
Off the tee: After a long delay – Tiger and Co. had to wait for the group in front of them – Tiger hits iron left and finds the rough between the green and the waste area. Tough second shot coming up. He’s well below the green.
Around the green: Real tough stance with foot up on the hill, Tiger chases away a bee first and then chunks his shot, leaving it on top of the hill but short of the green. He pulled up on it. Still in the rough, Tiger plays a nice chip to about 18 inches.
On the green: Another bogey for Tiger, who taps it in.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (Thru 5 holes, 1 over for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Jim Furyk looks like he’s recovered well from last week’s collapse at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. is in a tie for the lead after birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He’s at 3 under par, tied with Greg Chalmers, who bogeyed No. 7 after making birdies on Nos. 2-5. This is an important week for Furyk. He’s No. 11 in the United States’ Ryder Cup rankings. The top eight at week’s end earn spots on the team. Among those at 2 under par and one stroke off the lead are Ryo Ishikawa, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Keegan Bradley. (From Sean Martin)
• • •
No. 13, par 4, 497 yards
Tiger enters No. 13 coming off his first birdie of the day. This hole could be the toughest on the course, though. Players will face a diagonal drive across a narrow channel that laps the entire right and comes into play off the tee and on the second shot. The fairway virtually has been shut on the left by five sand-filled pits 300 yards out.
Off the tee: With 3-wood in hand at this long par 4, Tiger finds one of the waste areas on the left. So much for trying to be safe, but finding trouble off the tee on this hole is almost unavoidable if you don’t hit it straight. And Tiger is definitely in trouble – his ball is close to the lip of the waste area.
Approach shot: With the gallery surrounding him, Tiger switches clubs once and gets it out cleanly, but it goes well left. Tiger’s left heel pulls up a bit causing him to pull the shot. Great shot out of the bunker, but the result isn’t so great. He is in the gallery on a bit of a sandy lie – not horrible – and is about 10 feet above the hole.
Around the green: Tiger tries to run it up and it loses steam, finding a bunker. He then nearly holes his next shot to save par. Nice waste area shot.
On the green: Disappointing bogey for Tiger, but it was a nice save after some poor first three shots.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (Thru 4 holes, even for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Greg Chalmers has dropped a shot, but still has the lead at 3 under after Ryo Ishikawa and Keegan Bradley have each bogeyed their last holes.
• • •
No. 12, par 4, 412 yards
Tiger, who has finished fourth or better seven times at this event, starts off the day with a pair of pars. Now comes the par-4 12th, which features a tight fairway with marsh on the right and some waste bunkers on the left. There’s also a canal that comes into play on the right side of the green.
Off the tee: Tiger takes 3-wood here and plays a stinger, slipping a bit at impact. His pants are already drenched with sweat. He and Keegan walk up the fairway together.
Approach shot: From the middle of the fairway, and water right, Tiger hits wedge and attacks the pin. It hits the green and just rolls into the fringe about 10 feet from the hole.
Around the green: From just off the green, Tiger buries the birdie putt. Just before, a female spectator says, “come on Tiger, drain this sucker.”
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (Thru 3 holes, 1 under for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Greg Chalmers has claimed sole possession of the lead at 4 under. He’s got four straight birdies after starting his day with a par at No. 1.
• • •
No. 11, par 5, 593 yards
Tiger misses a good opportunity on that last hole as his putter fails him again. He’ll move on to the first par 5 of the day, No. 11, which features a double dogleg and an open green.
Off the tee: Driver in hand again, Tiger pushes it right and it hits a bank. He will have a tough second shot.
Second shot: Tiger opts for sand wedge and plays it safe, advancing it out of the sand bank about 60 yards and into the fairway. With it being a par 5, Tiger has time to recover with a lengthy third shot coming up.
Third shot: From more than 250 yards, Tiger takes iron and puts it in front of the green.
Around the green: From about 40 feet, Tiger hits the hole with his chip and settles 3 feet behind the cup.
On the green: Tiger studies his putt and drains it for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (Thru 2 holes, even for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: Keegan Bradley sinks a long eagle putt to join Ryo Ishikawa and Greg Chalmers atop the leaderboard at 3 under.
• • •
No. 10, par 4, 447 yards
Tiger will begin his quest for a fifth PGA Championship title here. He enters to a chorus of “Tiger!” and is wearing a lime green shirt, grey slacks and a white hat. Woods, teeing off with Martin Maymer and defending champion Keegan Bradley, starts on No. 10, which could pose problems to golfers off the tee these next four days. First players must carry a 15-foot-deep sand pit that’s about 290 yards down the right side of the fairway. To the left is a speed slot that will run into the preferred approach zone. If Tiger pulls his drive – something he did frequently last week – he could find some thick beach grass.
Off the tee: Tiger takes multiple – and deliberate – practice swings with the driver. They pay off. Tiger finds his first fairway of the day, driving it up the right side. Throng of fans out early to take in the grouping.
Approach shot: Up against the collar, Tiger has a short iron in and hits a low shot under the hole and has about 15 feet for birdie.
On the green: From a ridge to the right of the hole, Tiger wipes sweat from his face and misses left, not hitting it firm enough. He settles for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (Thru 1 hole, even for the tournament)
Elsewhere on the course: A slew of players have the lead at 2 under, including Gary Woodland and Ryo Ishikawa. Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are 1 under through one hole. Tiger’s playing partner, Keegan Bradley, is also 1 under after making a 7-footer for birdie on No. 10.
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Update #2: 7:57 a.m. EDT
Kiawah Island is looking beautiful currently, with sunny and blue skies overhead. Temperatures are hovering around 75 degrees, with a nearly non-existent breeze. There is only a 10 percent chance of precipitation this morning, increasing slightly to 15 percent around 1 p.m. The forecast changes a bit after 2 p.m., with thunderstorms expected. The high for today is expected to be 90 degrees.
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Update #1: 7:38 a.m. EDT
The PGA Championship is officially underway, with six players having finished a hole. The youngest player in the field – Italy’s Matteo Manassero – and Charles Howell III are the biggest names on the course currently. The first major champion to tee off on Thursday will be Lucas Glover (U.S. Open) at 8 a.m., while the marquee groupings start in earnest with Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk at 8:10 a.m. EDT.
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Tournament preview: Wednesday
• Decisions, decisions: Davis Love III and Jose Maria Olazabal talked Ryder Cup on Wednesday at the PGA Championship, with the U.S. likely down to only one spot remaining on its squad. Who will get it? Story.
• 5 Things: The season’s final major starts Thursday at a soft Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. Here’s 5 Things you need to know on the eve of the year’s final major. Story.
• Behind the smile: Don’t let the jovial attitude and big grin fool you. Graeme McDowell feels the pressure just like any other golfer on a professional tour. He just hides it a bit better. Story.
• Hot and cold: Rory McIlroy has had his glorious moments (a victory and World No. 1 ranking) and his dismal moments (three missed cuts), but the Northern Irishman has shown signs of life before the PGA Championship. Story.
• New perspective: After a four-week absence from competitive golf, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson returns to the spotlight “refreshed and not putting any pressure” on himself. Story.
• Family ties: Spencer Levin and his father/coach, Don – a former PGA Tour player in the 1980s – mix their personal relationship with business, and it works just fine. Story.
• Crane out: Ben Crane withdrew from the PGA Championship on Wednesday with a back injury. He has been replaced in the field by Chris Stroud. Story.
• Show me the money! A look at the prize money breakdown for this week’s 94th PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. Payouts.
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Tournament preview: Tuesday
• Staff predictions: Will it be Rory McIlroy? Jason Dufner? Matt Kuchar? Our panel of experts is split on who will take home the PGA Championship on Sunday night. Check out our picks.
• PGA Championship notebook: Keegan Bradley will defend his title without his trusty Odyssey XG Sabertooth putter of more than two years after it was “injured” on Tuesday. Story.
• Sharpen your wedges: The ability to scramble will be key to success this week at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, giving the likes of Luke Donald a chance to capture a major championship. Story.
• 5 Things: Weather rears its ugly head on Tuesday, while Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley and Luke Donald talk about their chances at winning the PGA Championship. Story.
• Digging the long ball: Long hitters such as Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day could have an advantage at Kiawah Island because of their length off the tee. Story.
• Only getting started: As a first-time major winner and father, Bubba Watson knows his life won’t get any easier on or off the course. Story.
• Tale of two Tigers: Which Tiger Woods will show up this week at Kiawah Island? The one leading the race for the FedEx Cup, or the frustrated player that faded in the last two majors? Story.
• Must watch: Bubba Watson recorded Rickie Fowler doing a flip into a pool and posted it on Twitter. Was this a good idea from Fowler? Or just a kid having fun? Video.
• Forgiving? Kerry Haigh has a potentially tough job this week with Kiawah Island not playing with any bunkers, storms brewing every day and likely better scoring conditions due to the wet turf at the PGA Championship. Story.
• Long journey: Roger Chapman’s long journey to his first PGA Championship took a bit longer than expected, thanks to a 14-hour delay in a Washington airport on Sunday. Story.