Fairways And Roughs Title

Crowded at the top of PGA Championship

By PGA Tour News
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – News and notes from Thursday’s first round of the PGA Championship, with Thorbjorn Olesen and Kevin Kisner sharing a one-shot lead. For more coverage from Quail Hollow see the Daily Wrap-up. Middle name working just fine Thorbjorn Olesen’s first name is really Jacob. When he started elementary school, though, he was one of three kids with that name, so he decided to use his middle name instead. It stuck. “I thought why not, I’ll still use it as a professional golfer,” he said. “I think it’s only my mom who calls me Jacob.” Thorbjorn – which means “thunder bear” in his native Danish – could make his name go down in history with a win come Sunday in the PGA Championship. The 27-year-old from Denmark shot a 4-under 67 that included six birdies and two bogeys. Evidently, he’s riding the momentum from last week at World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, when he shot 67-65 on the weekend to tie for 10th. “I just found something in my driver on the weekend and I was able to start to go at the pins and making some birdies at Firestone,” Olesen said. “That definitely gave me a lot of confidence. I felt good in the practice rounds here, and I'm really enjoying this golf course.” North Carolina native in contention Grayson Murray was born, raised and still lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, which is just 2-1/2 hours from Charlotte. Until this week, though, the 23-year-old had never played Quail Hollow Club. Considering the significant changes to the course made last summer, though, maybe it was good for Murray to come to the PGA Championship flying blind, so to speak. After all, the 68 he shot Thursday included a 32 on the extremely challenging back nine, leaving him among five players tied for third, one stroke off the lead. Though his 7:20 a.m. start came early, maybe it was only fitting that a native North Carolinian hit the opening tee shot of the first PGA played in the state since the 1974 event at Tanglewood. Murray had plenty of fans urging him on as the round progressed. “It was nice to have a lot of friends and family out there supporting me,” he said. “You hear, ‘Go Grayson, let's go.’ It's good motivation for me.” Murray didn’t even know he was in the PGA field until two weeks ago when the rookie won the Barbasol Championship. He also vaulted from 124th to 58th in the FedExCup with the win and locked up a two-year exemption and trip to Maui for the SBS Tournament of Champions in January. “People ask me was it a relief or excitement,” Murray said. “And it was excitement. … Getting that first win was huge confidence wise. “I can't say how hard it is to win out here. I can't stress it -- what these guys do, what Jason Day or Rory or Jordan or Hideki, people take that for granted. It's unbelievable. Hopefully I can be in that category in the next year or two and be in their shoes. “Right now, I'm just trying to get that second one.” Murray credits Josh Gregory, who used to be the golf coach at Southern Methodist, with helping turn his season around. He hired Gregory the week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard and the results were almost immediate – he missed his fifth straight cut at Bay Hill but then made 10 in a row.  “My short game has really elevated since I have been working with Josh,” Murray said. “My time management, I'm out here practicing for a purpose now.” Nine straight weeks for Reed Patrick Reed came to Quail Hollow in a positive frame of mind, even if the rest of his body was a little fatigued. The 27-year-old is competing in his ninth straight event – on two continents, no less – this week at the PGA. Two of those, played in Scotland and Germany, were sandwiched around the Open Championship, all three of which counted toward his European Tour membership. The rest were in the good old USA. Reed showed no signs of being tired Thursday, as he fired a 69 that left him two strokes off the lead. Reed, a five-time TOUR winner, has yet to post a top-10 in a major, with a tie for 12th at the 2016 Open Championship his best in 15 appearances. “I got to keep my energy level up,” Reed said. “Being my ninth week in a row, you have to save your energy for tournament rounds.” Reed said he hadn’t planned on playing nine straight tournaments. But the 2016-17 campaign hasn’t been up to his standards with just two top-10 finishes, and Reed prefers to work on his game between the ropes rather than beating balls. “If I don't feel like things are going exactly how I want to, I don't want to go home and try to work on it at the range,” he explained. “I can go to the range and it the ball perfect every time. I want to fix it on the golf course. That's why I have been playing a lot.” While Reed is 54th and safely in the FedExCup Playoffs that begin in two weeks at THE NORTHERN TRUST, where he will defend his most recent title, The Presidents Cup is a different story. The fiery Texan ranks 11th in the standings with the top 10 automatically qualifying and Captain Steve Stricker making two picks on Sept. 6. “Those team events are always on my mind,” Reed said. “The way you take care of those is go out and play good golf. I don't sit there and focus on standings and what you need points-wise. “At the end of the day you win a golf tournament, it takes care of itself. That's been the way I thought about I everything when it comes to World Ranking, FedExCup, the Playoffs, Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup, any of those team events. If you go out and play golf like you are supposed to, it's going to take care of yourself. That's all you can control.” New Quail Hollow suits big-hitting Woodland To say Gary Woodland is a fan of the changes made at Quail Hollow might be something of an understatement. The new holes suit his eye and the 196 yards added by architect Tom Fazio pose no problems for him. “I hit more drivers now than I ever did,” said the man who ranks 14th on TOUR in distance off the tee. “… Almost like they did it for me, I think.” Woodland demonstrated his affinity for the course with a 3-under 68. He made four birdies and dropped just one shot to par. Interestingly, the putter, which has been uncooperative this year, was the key to Woodland’s round. He came into the week ranked 182nd in Strokes Gained: Putting but finished the day ranked sixth. “I haven't made putts in a long time,” Woodland said, adding that seeing birdies drop in his first seven holes set the tone. In an attempt to shore up his putting, Woodland worked with Brad Faxon early in the week and Steve Stricker on Wednesday. “I talked to two of the greats,” he said. “I picked up some things definitely.” Most of his conversation with the Presidents Cup captain on Wednesday focused on his setup. More importantly, Woodland was trying to let things happen rather than focus on the fundamentals. “The day before a major, it's all about freeing it up,” he said. “We're not trying to do too much. Just get comfortable was the big deal.” ODDS AND ENDS After his win at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, Kevin Kisner followed with a tie for sixth at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. He then hit a lull in his next four starts but thinks he found something last week at Firestone where he finished tied for 28th. Now he’s leading a major after any round for the first time in his career. “Just been a lot of average golf lately,” Kisner said. “Working hard with John Tillery a lot on my pivot. Feeling like I’m loading better on my right side and trying to eliminate some of the push shots I hit.” … Rickie Fowler shot a 2-under 69 despite a triple bogey on the par-4 fifth in which he found a fairway bunker and took two shots to get out. “A little mental mistake,” Fowler said. “Forgot a swing cue I usually think of and missed the drive.” … Fowler, by the way, is one of eight players in the field whose first and last names each have six letters. Three of them have won majors this season. Besides Fowler, the other four who haven’t are Justin Thomas, Graham DeLaet, Daniel Berger and club pro Jaysen Hansen. … Rory McIlroy didn’t regret the decision to try driving the 354-yard par-4 14th, even though he found the water and suffered a double bogey. He blamed the execution. “I would say 75 percent of the field are going for that green,” McIlroy said. “I just turned it over too much. I hit 3-wood. In hindsight, the wind was helping a little bit. I probably didn't need to turn it over to get it there. I just was trying to hit it up the right side. I thought it was the safer shot. If it doesn't turn, you're in that bunker on the right and you can get it up-and-down. I just overcooked it a little bit. But that wasn't the reason I made double. Obviously hit it in the water but it was the first chip shot, that was the disappointing thing. I still could have made a par from that and moved on. But no, the play, it was the right play. Especially for that back pin. I just didn't execute it properly.” ... Phil Mickelson’s 100th major start wasn’t a good one. He’s played 52 previous rounds at Quail Hollow and hasn’t shot a round higher than 76 – until Thursday when he didn’t make a birdie in a round of 8-over 79. This was his 24th round on TOUR without a birdie and 10th overall in a major. In fact, it’s the second major in a row where he hasn’t made a birdie in his first round. … Ernie Els, also making his 100th major start, fared even worse. He shot an 80 with three double bogeys. … Quail Hollow Club member Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champ, opened with a 5-over 76 that he called disappointing. But he enjoyed playing at home. “Great, great support from the members and local people,” Simpson said. “That was nice.” “The day before a major, it's all about freeing it up,” he said. “We're not trying to do too much. Just get comfortable was the big deal.” BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA


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