Watson and Molinari share round one lead at PGA Championship

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Watson and Molinari share round one lead
Watson and Molinari share round one lead at PGA Championship
The first day of the 92nd PGA Championship might have seen Tiger Woods atop the leaderboard at one point but by the end of the first round on the Whistling Straits course Woods had dropped back in the ranks while Francisco Molinari and Bubba Watson shared a two way tie at four-under 68.
The first day of the final major of the season didn’t start out according to plan. While tee time was originally set for 7 am, play didn’t get underway until three hours later due to early morning fog.
Due to the delayed play several golfers were unable to finish their first round after it became too dark to continue. Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, and Nick Watney were also at four-under when play was stopped for the day. They will finish their first rounds on Friday morning.
Watson and Molinari both opened with score of four-under 68. Watson won his first PGA event two months ago at the Travellers Championship and played very well on the 7507-yard course. The Wisconsin course had seen an abundance of rain and turned out to be a well suited match with the 31-year-old golfer.
By far Watson’s best shot was on the par-5 fifth hole. The 587-yard hole yielded a birdie for Watson, who drove the ball 445-yards by his calculations on his first shot, and then on his second shot used a wedge to hit it close enough to the pin for a two putt birdie.
Watson’s strength is in his long game, and it showed Thursday. He won’t be letting the first day lead get to his head, nor is he feeling pressure to win his first major. “Any golf tournament I have a chance to win, regardless of whether it's a major," Watson said."I don't change the way I do anything. I still hit driver as much as I can, and hopefully chip and get up-and-down and make putts."
Molinari’s game was accurate to say the least. He made his way to the 18th green after missing only four fairways and two greens. After dropping by one shot he was able to make it up with a birdie on the par-3 seventh hole.
Of his game Molinari felt that, with first time winners at the last two major, maybe this is his chance at a victory weekend. Molinari is very competitive, especially after Woods proved, if only for a short while, that he still had the capability of leading the field. If the opportunity presents itself Molinari hopes he can hold on for a win.
“Tiger is going to get back to his standards, and Phil is going to win more majors," the Italian golfer said. "And so you just need to play really well and try to grab the occasion when you have it."
Even though it was Watson and Molinari’s names atop the leaderboard, Woods’ stint as an early round one leader was the talk of the day.
When the fog finally lifted Woods, who teed off at 11:30 with last year’s defending champion Y.E. Yang and former winner Vijay Sign, played his way into contention after he finished his first round one-under 71.
Woods started with a birdie, then grabbed a second on the next hole after a two putt from 80 feet off the green.  Woods was just as shocked as anyone; it was the first time in over a year that Woods opened a tournament with consecutive birdies.  “What the h**l?” he said to his caddie. “Did you see that ball?”
By the end of the day Woods had dropped back to T 24, but the fact that he made it to the leaderboard on the first day after playing the worst game of his life on Sunday at Bridgestone, well quite simply it’s great to see.
Several others shared 24th with Woods, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker, Rory McIlroy, and Zach Johnson.
Ernie Els had a strong start playing bogey free for the first 14 holes. Mickelson was one under at the end of his abbreviated first round (11 holes) after scrambling to make par and struggling with the bunkers. He was able to finish with consecutive birdies and is closer than ever to outranking Woods as the world’s number one.
Kuchar and Watney both reached four-under before the sun set thanks to eagles, Kuchar’s on the 13th hole early on in the day and Watney’s on the 11th hole, his last of the day.



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