Colin Montgomerie’s pre-tournament prediction of a strong European challenge at the US PGA Championship was looking good during the early stages at Hazeltine National.
As American John Mallinger and Australia’s Robert Allenby – the latter joint second with Padraig Harrington at last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational – set the pace at three under through their first nine holes, a string of European Tour Members were looking well positioned in their first rounds.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Denmark’s Ryder Cup star Søren Hansen and big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros had all advanced to two under par on the front nine in Minnesota.
That group also contained last week’s winner and World Number One Tiger Woods, Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, Americans Paul Goydos, D J Trahan and Dustin Johnson and Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita.
Amongst those a shot further back on one under were Ireland’s defending champion Harrington, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and England’s Chris Wood – a top five finisher at The Open Championship two years running.