Disastrous start for Atwal, Stricker leads at PGA C'ships

Arjun Atwal
Atlanta (USA), Aug 12: Arjun Atwal made yet another horrendous start to his Major golf championship campaign with an eight-over 78 in the opening round of the PGA Championships at the Atlanta Athletic Club here.

He is now 138th and way off a cut-line that looks likely at around three-over at the 7,467-yard course, which is the longest par-70 course in Major history.

The leader was Steve Stricker, who came within a whisker of the lowest ever round in a Major and then finished at 63, and he is now the 11th player in Major history to have shot a 63.

World number one Luke Donald opened the campaign with a 70 and world number two Lee Westwood started with a 71 and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel shot 71, but British Open champion Darren Clarke fell at 78.

Atwal, who defends his Wyndham Championships title next week, was fine through the front nine with a bogey and a birdie for an even-par turn.

Then came the disaster in the form of a triple bogey on 11th, a bogey on the 12th and then two more doubles on par-three 15th and 17th for an eight-over 43 on the back nine and a card of 78 that virtually put paid to his chances of making the weekend action.

Atwal's previous Major campaign at the Augusta Masters also ended before the weekend with rounds of 80 and 71.

Atwal was only a shot worse than his friend and 14-time Major winner, Tiger Woods, who began with three birdies in first five holes and then faded to a miserable seven-over 77 and was in danger of missing the cut. 


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