PITTSFORD N.Y. One quarter of the way through the final major of the season very little has been decided. Plenty of big names including major champions are in striking distance and Oak Hill is only going to get tougher. What happens from here
The big names Adam Scott who last month made four consecutive bogeys on the back nine in the final round of the British Open for the second consecutive year to again lose his grasp of the Claret Jug made five consecutive birdies starting at No. 4. He made a run at the course record but fell a stroke shy and shares the lead with Jim Furyk at 65. After tailoring his schedule around the majors Scott makes himself a threat in many of them and he won this year's Masters.
TIGER WOODS Double bogey on final hole
I have nothing to complain about after a 65 Scott said. I managed to ride the ship and hung on at the end. ... The greens were soft and that was by Mother Nature more than anything. So if they firm up little bit we're going to have a tough test over the next three days.
LEADERBOARD PGA Championship
Mickelson the 2005 PGA champion won his first British Open last month and says he's playing the best golf of his career. The crowd favorite was all over the place however with a bogey here two double bogeys there and four birdies to shoot 71.
He was 3 over after four holes and rescued his round with birdies at Nos. 9 11 12 and 14 before the crushing double at 18.
ROUND 1 Furyk Scott open with 5 under 65s
He immediately went to the range after his round.
And Rory McIlroy the defending champion and former No. 1 is trying to recapture his best form this season where he's 0 for 15 with four top 10s four missed cuts and a withdrawal. He liked his start for the most part a 69.
OAK HILL Interactive course tour
To shoot under par was a solid way to get off in any major said McIlroy who has been watching videos of his best events including last year's win at Kiawah Island to gain some positive thoughts.
Tiger Woods tees off on the 11th hole during the first round of the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.(Photo Allan Henry USA TODAY Sports)
Tiger's weekends After a 71 in the first round Woods said he was right there in the championship. He's been right there many times since winning his last major at the 2008 U.S. Open. Although he has nine top six finishes in majors since winning his last the most of any player he's 0 for 17 in large part because of his weekend play. In the last two rounds of those 17 majors he's broken par just nine times just six times since returning from scandal in 2010. His putter has been his nemesis in his last six majors leading into this week he averaged 28.3 putts per round in the first two rounds 30.9 on the weekend. In Thursday's first round he had 27 putts.
And if history is a guide he better be in a share of the lead after 54 holes. Woods has never won a major when he didn't have at least a share of the lead after three rounds.
The key holes to survive After tackling Oak Hill's East Course for 16 holes no easy task indeed players face the two toughest holes before signing their scorecards the 509 yard 17th and the 497 yard 18th both par 4 brutes. They played as the toughest holes in the first round and will do so the rest of the tournament. Phil Mickelson made double on the 18th to mar his round.
The scoring holes The par 5 fourth where Tiger Woods made bogey was the easiest hole in the first round yielding 61 birdies and two eagles. And a three hole stretch starting at the 372 yard uphill par 4 12th is where players have their best chances to record red numbers. Most will aggressively go into each of the holes the others are the 600 yard par 5 13th and the 323 yard uphill par 4 14th with short irons. The 13th the only other par 5 played as the second easiest hole allowing 47 birdies and an eagle.
The conditions Here's Graeme McDowell's take on what players will see the rest of the tournament. This rough is getting nothing but thicker he said after his 70. Pins will only get tougher. Let's hope we don't get too much rain. I'd like to see this course firm up just a tad and just keep everyone honest a little bit. ... I hope they don't go too (low) on the course (Thursday because we might see a few evil (pins) Friday.
They didn't go too low but there were 49 players at par or better and 35 under par.
The 2010 U.S. Open champion added that there was barely a draft of wind in the first round. Getting four windless days rarely happens in these parts. And sun is in the forecast as the weekend wears on which will dry out the fairways and firm up the greens.
The first timers Eighteen different players have won in the last 20 majors with only Mickelson and McIlroy doubling up in the game's four biggest events. Of the 18 14 of them earned their first major title including Scott at the Masters and Justin Rose at the U.S. Open this year. This trend bodes well for Matt Kuchar (67) Paul Casey (67) Lee Westwood (68) Steve Stricker (68) Sergio Garcia (69) Brandt Snedeker (70) Bill Haas (68) Jason Dufner (68) Jason Day (67) and Henrik Stenson (68) among others.
All of the aforementioned players have played well on big stages Kuchar has won a Players Championship and a WGC event for instance and Westwood has 16 top 10s in majors including eight top threes since the start of 2008. Day has five top 10s in his last 10 major starts including four top threes. Haas and Snedeker have won the last two FedExCup titles. Stenson a past Players champion has finished 3 2 2 in his last three starts.
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