PGA Championship Kiawah Island

Island in the sun

Carl Petterson/Kinnaird/Getty Images

Carl Pettersson leads the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island with -6 under par round of 66. Carl  has a one shot advantage over a group of four  players who are at  -5 under par, Gary Woodland, Gonzalo Fernandez-Costano, Alex Noren and one of the favorites for the title this week,  Rory McIlroy.

Carl was determined to take advantage of the good conditions, before the wind got up;

“There really wasn’t much wind on the front nine, so I knew I had to keep going low because I figured the wind would get up. The wind started blowing a little bit on the back nine, and I carried on solid play. So it was a great day for me.”

There is a large group on -4 under par, these include Major winner John Daly, who has found some form of late, and Adam Scott, who had a great chance to win The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Tiger Woods is another shot further back, and in a good position after the first round.

John Daly said he played freely;

“To just free wheel it is the only way I can get my confidence back instead of worrying about bad breaks and worrying about this and worrying about what somebody else is doing. I only need to worry about what I’m doing and go out and attack and play golf and enjoy it.” 

Tiger was really happy with his start to the tournament;

“Anything in the 60s is going to be a good start in a major championship, and I’m right there.”

Adam Scott was also very pleased with his opening effort;

“So far, so good. It would be great to put two more rounds together and be coming here Sunday with a good look at the championship. If I don’t, then I’ll really feel like I’ve let it all slip this year for me. So I’d love to use this opportunity while I’m playing well to get in there and have a sniff on Sunday.”

Phil Mickelson shot a 71 to be at -1 under par, after spending most of the day scrambling from all over the course, he said;

“I fought hard today and I kept myself right in it for the most part and should get a bit of a weather break tomorrow morning. It actually felt a little bit closer than it has in a long time. I felt good on the green. My touch was back. I started hitting some shots at some pins.”

Among those who will be struggling to make the cut, currently projected at +2,  are World number one Luke Donald, and Rickie Fowler  who both  had a miserable day at +2 over par for the first round. Luke making his customary slow start to a tournament this year. Surprisingly Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open Champion is already out of the hunt, shooting a +7 over par round. Lee Westwood is another who is unlikely to make to cut this time around.

I still can not believe that the USGA have ordained that the bunkers are not hazards for this tournament. It is really strange to watch a player in a green-side bunker taking practice swings in the sand to get the feel of how the ball will come out, madness.