This was not the Quail Hollow from years gone by. The newly redesigned layout, with a couple of par-4s north of 500 yards and a closing stretch nicknamed “the Green Mile,” after Stephen King’s literary walk to the electric chair, was, through Round One at least, the toughest test of all the 2017 major venues.
PGA Championship 1st Round
On a relatively calm Thursday, the greens were just tap-it-and-hope. If a late-summer breeze had blown up, the course could have gotten away from them. As it was, 24 players ended the first day in red figures and 10 of them were 1 under.
One of two co-leaders, Thorbjørn Olesen, went out early and put up a 4-under 67. It is the first time Olesen has ever led a major and he couldn’t have been happier.
— PGA of America (@PGA) August 10, 2017
“I’ve had a couple of top-10s in majors,” Olesen said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the years. I feel like I’m better prepared to be in contention over the weekend and have a chance to win.”
Easy there, cowboy. Named after a Norse god or not, you can’t win one of these on Thursday, even when you do make a bomb for birdie on the final hole.
Olesen sat alone in the top spot for more than five hours. Then, just a few minutes after 7 p.m., Kevin Kisner made his own birdie on 18, one of six birdies there on the day, to tie the lead.
The two finished a shot ahead of a group of five players that includes U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka.
But perhaps the best round of the day came from Rickie Fowler, who made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 3 and 4 before making a triple-bogey 7 at the fifth. But Fowler bounced back with birdies at 7, 9 and 10 and got into the clubhouse at 2 under.
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) August 10, 2017
“I made a mental mistake, forgot one of my swing cues on the hole where I made triple,” Fowler said. “It’s going to happen. But I did a good job other than that.”