The PGA Championship is underway at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, and Tiger Woods is just a few shots back of the leaders midway through the first round. Joost Luiten of the Netherlands is in the lead at 8-under. Luiten has been the surprise of the day, and has a bogey-free round going along with six birdies and an eagle.
Rory McIlroy and John Daly are close behind.
Tiger Woods started his round early this morning on the 10th tee playing the back nine first. The back nine is harder than the front, but the relatively gentle conditions at the usually blustery Ocean Course knocked down the difficulty level.
Tiger shot 1-under on the back and needed just 10 putts, and got to 2-under after holing a 10-foot birdie put at No. 1.
Woods drained a lengthy birdie putt on the par-5 second hole to move to 3-under par. It was Tiger’s third consecutive birdie of the round.
Woods has a good look at a fourth consecutive birdie, but slid his downhill 20-foot putt to the left of the hole and tapped in for par on No. 3.
Tiger is in trouble on No. 4 after a loose 3-metal off the tee. He drove it somewhere into this lateral hazard, and was cursing himself on the tee box:
Tiger had to take a penalty stroke for hitting it into the hazard, and his third shot found a sandy area short of the green. He pitched to a few feet and knocked in the putt for bogey. He’s back to 2-under.
Woods bounced back immediately on the par-3 fifth, sticking his tee shot within five feet of the hole — but he hit his putt just a bit too firm and caught the left lip, settling for a disappointing par.
Tiger parred the sixth and seventh as well, but at the par-3 eighth fired an iron to under 10 feet, and will have a great birdie chance. Woods made the putt to drop back to 3-under, five shots back of Luiten.
On his final hole of the day, Tiger avoided giving any shots back with a majestic flop shot to save par. Needing to get up and down, Tiger faced this shot into an elevated green.
He simply opened up the clubface and spun a flop shot to a few feet away
Tiger tapped in from there to finish his round at 3-under.
One oddity about Kiawah Island is that there are no bunkers on the entire course — instead, there are hundreds of de facto bunkers classified by the PGA as “sandy areas.”
If you watch the PGA Championship this weekend, you’ll undoubtedly hear commentators refer to all the “sandy areas” around the course, many of which look exactly like normal bunkers, albeit filled with natural beach sand.
In other high profile tournaments at the Ocean Course in the past, though, the official rules have recognised all sand traps as “sandy areas,” meaning players are allowed to ground their club, take practice swings to test the surface and even remove loose impediments.
We’ll keep you updated throughout the day right here, and you can watch a free live-stream of Tiger’s round at PGA.com.
Some other notable tee times (all eastern):
- Rickie Fowler tees off at 1:00 p.m.
- Adam Scott tees off at 1:10 p.m.
- Bubba Watson and Ernie Els tee off at 1:20 p.m.
- Phil Mickelson tees off at 1:40 p.m.
- Graeme McDowell tees off at 1:50 p.m.
Back to John Daly, who has been playing solid golf the past few months, and as always, is a joy to watch. Here’s his signature outfit today.
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