2017 PGA Championship Round 1 Recap – Birdies and Bogeys

By Joe Hines–Always Battling For Position

This year’s PGA Championship is being held at notable tour venue, Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s been a regular stop for years, this is its first stab at hosting a major, however.  There has been a significant redo of the golf course since its last tournament in May, they rebuilt holes and re-grassed the whole golf course in a little over ninety days. A Herculean task, to be sure, and one of the fun features is a sub-air feature underneath the greens that can suck the water right out of them. Thus making the threat of rain through the weekend largely a non-story. The greens today for the first round, are already frighteningly fast. If tournament officials let them get much firmer, familiar cries of unfairness from young millionaires will blather across the twitter-sphere, God forbid these players who no longer play a game that I’m familiar with being challenged by less than comfortable conditions.

The par 71, 7600-yard track has three par 4’s that measure over 500 yards, including a 540-yard monster. Contrarily, the 14th hole at about 350 yards, is also a par 4, with many players taking a driver hoping to drive the green or get close for an easy chip shot and a birdie.  There is a 280-yard par 3. This is truly not a game with which I am familiar.  But I digress…

The first round of any tournament, but majors, in particular, are about trying to be in a position to contend the rest of the week. There is the saying that goes, “You can’t win the first day, but you sure can lose the first day”.  So for every club pro who is just glad to be there the shoots 85, there are a ton of guys around even par and 1 over that are grinding over three-foot putts to keep from shooting themselves out of contention on Thursday.

Here are a few birdies and bogeys from Thursday’s first round.

Birdie–Ricky Fowler. The latest to have the unfortunate moniker “Best player not that hasn’t won a major”, is trying to rectify it this week. He had 17 good holes, and 1 horrible one, taking a triple bogey 7 on the par 4 5th hole. He gets a birdie from me for bouncing back to within two shots of the first round leader, Denmarks Thornbjorn Oleson.

Bogey–Phil Mickelson. 79. That’s what the Pillsbury Dough Boy had for ya in the first round of a major championship. +8. Been a tricky year for Phil. Dumped his long-time caddie. Missed the US Open because his daughters’ school had the temerity to schedule her high school graduation in conflict with his Open tee-time. Oh, and his bookie got sentenced to 5 years in prison. That graduation could have been scheduled for this weekend, looks like Phil will be free. Aw shucks.

Birdie–Gary Woodland. This guy, one of the longest hitters on the tour, represents Kansas with the best of them. He consistently plays well in the majors, today getting around in 68 shots, 3 under par. He’s just one of those guys that is always just a notch or two down the list when you think of outstanding players, but he’s worthy of keeping your eye on the rest of the week.

Bogey–Jimmy Walker. Last years champion opened with an 8 over 79. He was clearly not DY-NO-MITE.

Birdie–Jordan Spieth. This unlikely superior athlete, at the age of 23, had a Jordan round. Steady, he bounced back from being  3 over at one point to get it back to a one over 72. It’s Jordan being Jordan, at its best.

Birdie–Quail Hollow. She’s a brute, but it’s fun to watch. Just enough scoring opportunities to make it interesting, it should be a fun PGA to watch. Enjoy the show.

Long and straight. Peace. See you tomorrow.


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