Thursday, August 9, 2007
Storm's 65 takes the cake
By Bob Harig Special to ESPN.com
TULSA, Okla. -- Professional golfers don't typically spend their down time working odd jobs. And they certainly don't do it in a cake factory.
But that is where Graeme Storm found himself four years ago in England, down on his luck and his game, in need of cash.
The stint washing trays lasted less than three months -- he made about $300 per week -- but it offers a good perspective for where he is today.
"I was just being a normal person doing an everyday job," said Storm, who shot 5-under-par 65 to take a two-shot lead over John Daly on Thursday after one round of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club. "I didn't know where my career was going, and I thought that might be the end, to be honest.
"Obviously you dream about playing in tournaments like this, but at the time, I couldn't really see myself playing golf to be honest. I thought maybe go and play for pleasure, or go back and play as an amateur, to give me a kick in the backside that I really needed. Maybe I needed a taste of reality."
Storm, who won the 1999 British Amateur and played in the 2000 Masters with his mother as his caddie, has rebounded nicely. Last month, he won his first European Tour title at the French Open. He is now playing his eighth consecutive week.
"I'm quite tired, but obviously this is quite a buzz after shooting the score that I have done," he said.
Good start, bad ending
Tiger Woods has captured just one major championship after shooting an opening round over par and that is what he will have to overcome at Southern Hills Country Club if he is to win the PGA Championship.
Woods got off to a great start, making three birdies in his first six holes on the back nine. But he was unable to sustain that pace as he made five bogeys and a birdie over the final 10 holes to shoot 1-over-par 71.
The only other time Woods went on to win a major after shooting over par in the first round was at the 2005 Masters, where he opened with a 74.
"I felt like I hit the ball better than my score indicates, which is good," Woods said. "That's a good sign heading into the next three days. I just need to clean up my round a little bit."
Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways but only 10 of 18 greens in regulation. He needed 30 putts, and is six strokes behind leader Graeme Storm.
"I'm right there in the ballgame," he said.
Sergio Garcia, trying to rebound from the disappointment of a playoff loss last month at the British Open, got off to a great start with birdies at the first three holes. But Garcia made just one more birdie the rest of the way and finished with consecutive bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes to shoot even-par 70.
"It's a shame, those last two bogeys," he said. "I got off to a great start, unfortunately I just didn't have a great finish."
Jim Furyk won the Canadian Open two weeks ago, his first victory of the year. Then his back started bothering him, enough to keep him out of last weekend's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He took most of the weekend off and didn't begin hitting balls until Sunday. Furyk's back was still sore when he arrived in Tulsa on Monday, and he practiced very little on the course before the first round.
That may be why he made some uncharacteristic mistakes on the opening holes, leaving him 4 over par through four holes. He dropped just one more shot the rest of the way and shot 75.
"It was the mental mistakes and the stupid things," Furyk said. "I got what I got. I'm not happy with 75."
Around Southern Hills
If a first-time major champion wins the PGA, it would be just the fourth time since the Masters inception in 1934 that all four major championships were captured by players who had never won one previously. The last time it happened was in 2003 when Mike Weir (Masters), Furyk (U.S. Open), Ben Curtis (British Open) and Shaun Micheel (PGA) won the four majors. ... John Daly has made just one cut at the PGA Championship since 1997, two years ago at Baltusrol. ... Countrymen Angel Cabrera and Andres Romero of Argentina had a rough time at the par-3 sixth hole. Cabrera made a 10 after hitting two balls over the green out of bounds and another in the water before three-putting. Romero made a triple-bogey 6 at the hole. They each shot 81.
Bob Harig is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.