Storm leads Daly at Southern Hills
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2007 US PGA Championship | Round One | 10 Aug 2007
As day one drew to a close at the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Englishman, Graeme Storm, whose best finish to date in major Championship golf was 78th at the 2005 US Open, has established a two shot lead over 1991 champion, John Daly.
Storm’s performance was made even more impressive by the fact that he played in the afternoon group, which has to contend with the hotter part of the day. Storm birdied four of his first seven holes and added one further birdie at his 11th hole and importantly did not drop a shot as he recorded a round of five under par 65 on a day where only 12 players were able to break par on the demanding Southern Hills layout.
Storm only won his first European Tour event in June of this year when he secured the lucrative French Open title but the 29-year-old, who has battled with the highs and lows of the game in his relatively short career, is clearly at the peak of his game at present and this perhaps his finest hour to date. There is a long way to go but Storm has made a dream start.
“Yeah, obviously winning in France was a massive boost, changed my life a little. But it opened new doors to play last week and getting a special invite to play this week.”
“It is a big contrast to come over here. Like I say, I’ve played eight weeks on the spin now. I could have done with a break before last week, but I never got the chance and you can’t turn down these kinds of invites to these tournaments.”
John Daly has struggled on and off the course in 2007, making just five cuts in seventeen tournaments. This, however, was a day for Daly to get excited as he moved to four under par through 13 holes before a bogey at the 16th had him in the clubhouse at 3 under 67.
“It’s been a tough year and a half on injuries. But ball-striking-wise I haven’t really been playing that bad. My scores haven’t been tremendously that bad.”
“I feel like I’m playing great golf. I’ve hit it – in ‘05 and ‘06 I didn’t hit the ball that great and scored really well. This has been a very good confidence booster for me. I don’t know how well I’ll play the next day or three days, hopefully, but I got a little bit of confidence in certain areas I haven’t, especially putting.”
Throughout the day several players threatened to challenge the lead more especially, Sergio Garcia, whose opening three birdies threatened to put a stop to any speculation about his mindset after Carnoustie. While his start was hot his finish was the exact opposite with bogeys at his final two holes but at even par he is still very well placed.
The pre-tournament favourite, Tiger Woods, is at 71 and six shots from the lead but given the way this tournament is likely to evolve he is very well placed. Given that neither Storm or Daly are likely winners in 2007, Woods is very close to contention and by this time tomorrow he might be even closer.
The world number two and three, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson, were both casualties of round one, Furyk dropping five shots in his first twelve holes before steadying the ship to finish at +5 (T85). Mickelson appeared to have put his recent injury affected play behind him when he moved to two under early in his round but fell away to finish with 73. Neither is completely out of it but the task ahead is huge.
John Senden played late on day one and moved into a share of second at three under with just five holes to play. Two late bogeys saw him slip back to one under but an opening round of 69 is very good in the context of this event and this course.
Senden shares the honours of leading Australian after round one with Geoff Ogilvy, who was out early and was on a roller coaster at 3 over through 11 holes before a brilliant finish where four birdies in his last six holes changed the outcome of his day. It was a welcome boost for Ogilvy who has really struggled in recent weeks.
Rod Pampling is the next best of the Australians after a rock solid back nine of one under 34 had him at even par 70.