Robert Karlsson and Jeev Milkha Singh stood alone at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first round of the US PGA Championship as fellow European Tour Member Andres Romero dropped a shot at the last.
Argentina’s Romero, returning to Oakland Hills Country Club early this morning to finish his last two holes following the weather delay the previous afternoon, parred the tough par three 17th but dropped out of a share of the lead after a bogey on the final hole after a poor four iron approach.
“I am very happy after a very good round to be one shot behind the leaders and it is a very good start to the PGA Championship,” said Romero after his round of 69.
“I hit very good tee shots and didn’t hit the rough very often. And when I hit from the rough I made a putt which was good. The rough was very tough and the greens are quick so you have to be patient and luckily I was.”
After the stop-start nature of his first round and the early morning wake-up call to play his last two holes, Romero said: “The hard thing was getting up this morning.
“You can’t do anything with the weather so just wait and just hope the weather stays good for the rest of the week.”
Swede Karlsson, the only player to have finished in the top ten of all three Majors so far this year, bounced back from an opening double-bogey at the par-four first hole to birdie five of the next seven holes and added another at the 11th - before bogeys at the par-four 14th and 15th holes sent him back to two under for his round.
India's Singh also began with bogey at the first and then eagled the par-five second in a round of 68 which also featured three birdies and two more bogeys.
Karlsson and Singh held a one stroke lead over Romero, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Ameicans Ken Duke, Billy Mayfair and Sean O’Hair as the only players under par after the first round.
Eight players were starting their second rounds at level par, including World Number Two Phil Mickelson, the 2005 Champion of this event, 2007 US Open champion Angel Cabrera and Anthony Kim, the young American with two US PGA Tour wins to his name this year.
Open Champion Padraig Harrington did complete his opening round on Thursday, coming home with a one over par 71 that kept him in touch with the leaders. He was an early starter on Friday, opening with a birdie at the tenth before bogeying the 11th. A run of three pars has followed, leaving him at one over after five holes.
Elsewhere, Cabrera improved to one under through five holes - one under overall - while South Korea’s Charlie Wi is one over par after diluting birdies at the second and sixth with a bogey on the fourth and a double bogey at the eighth.
Ernie Els, who started on the tenth, has dropped a stroke in his opening two holes, falling to two over par overall.