It has been 21 years since John Daly's Cinderella-like victory at the 1991 PGA Championship. On Thursday, Daly continued a recent hot streak with a 4-under-par 68 in the first round of the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course.
After two birdies on the front nine, Daly eagled the par-5 11th hole and played even-par golf to finish his round.
"I think it's just kind of been building up for the last five or six weeks," said Daly, whose only top-10 finish at the PGA Championship was in '91. "I played solid in Canada except for one hole. My best ball-striking was at the British Open. When I get on a run -- six, seven, eight weeks in a row -- I feel like I have a better chance at playing well. It's starting to pay off a little bit, but that's if you're making cuts I always believe when you're making cuts, it gives you a chance to get some confidence in your game. So I'm getting a lot of confidence, but I'm just hitting the ball solid."
Daly, who is always a fan favorite, said the crowd helped getting him going.
"They're amazing. The crowds are always amazing. Just keep you going," he said. "They were getting good, getting good and loud on the back nine today. I love it. I don't know if too many players do, but I love it."
SCHWARTZEL FINDS TROUBLE ON FINAL TWO: Charl Schwartzel was in prime position to finish toward the top of the first round leaderboard, but then he ran into the closing two holes at The Ocean Course.
Schwartzel, who won the 2011 Masters, teed off on the par-3 17th hole at 4-under-par. His tee shot sailed left and long before eventually landing near the 11th hole as fans scurried over to the ball. Schwartzel's chip shot only made it halfway to the hole, forcing a third chip.
His third shot found the green, but left him with a long putt for bogey. Needing to avoid a double bogey, Schwartzel drained a long putt for the bogey save. The momentum didn't last long. Schartzel bogeyed the 18th hole to finish with a 2-under 70, dropping him into a tie for 25th.
SOME FAST STARTS: Several players took advantage of the ideal scoring conditions with some fast starts Thursday. For example, Defending PGA Champion Keegan Bradley birdied his first hole (No. 10), then eagled the 11th.
Other fast starters were Greg Chalmers, who birdied holes 2, 3, 4 and 5; Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, who birdied his first three holes (Nos. 10-12); Carl Pettersson, who birdied three of his first four holes (Nos. 1, 2 and 4); and Cameron Tringale, who had five birdies over his first eight holes.
A FIRST FOR PETTERSSON: In his previous 20 rounds in the PGA Championship, Carl Pettersson had never shot below 70. That all changed Thursday with his 6-under-par 66.
MCILROY EQUALS BEST PGA MARK: The 67 that Rory McIlroy shot Thursday tied his best single-round PGA Championship score. McIlroy shot 67 in the third round of the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
DUKE TUMBLED: Ken Duke was 4-under par through 10 holes, but bogeyed 13, 16 and 17, to finish at 1-under-par 71.
SO DID FURYK: Jim Furyk was at 3-under par before making double-bogey at the par-5 16th hole (his seventh hole of the day). He finished at even-par 72.
HOFFMAN'S CRAZY ROUND: Charley Hoffman made four birdies in his opening round Thursday. So much for the good news. Hoffman, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, started the round with a quadruple-bogey on the first hole, then had two double bogeys and three bogeys for a front-nine 45, 9-over par. His only par on the front came on the ninth hole.
Hoffman had two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine. So, to recap Hoffman's round:
OLLY IN AT 2-OVER PAR: Jose Maria Olazabal, the 2012 European Ryder Cup Team Captain, rebounded after a bogey-bogey start (Nos. 10 and 11) to make two birdies on the back nine for an even-par 36. Olazabal then made three bogeys and a birdie on the front nine to finish at 2-over-par 74.
DOBYNS SHOOTS 81: Matt Dobyns, the 2012 PGA Professional National Champion, struggled to a 9-over-par 81 today in his first-ever PGA Championship round. Dobyns, PGA head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., bogeyed his first two holes (Nos. 10 and 11), and had two double bogeys on the back nine.
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