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More birdies at Oak Hill for Kuchar in 67 at PGA
“It helps a lot in a major. It’s such a big moment,” Kaymer said. “You’re thinking about 4, hopefully, and then you make 3. It’s such a big bonus.”
Another bonus? Emotion from the German, who thrust his arms in the air and flashed a broad smile.
“I think you guys should be happy that I showed more emotion than usual,” he said.
He wasn’t nearly as bothered by the double bogey he made on No. 18, which began with a drive deep into the trees left of the fairway. Mickelson tried to hit through a tiny gap in the trees, but it hit smack into them. He pitched out with his third shot, hit onto the green and missed his 10-foot bogey putt.
Mickelson didn’t think he had many options.
“I would have to go backwards to get to the fairway,” Mickelson said. “I couldn’t go straight outside. I couldn’t go forward. So I had to pitch out backwards, which would have left me on a downhill lie with a 4-iron. So I thought 5 was going to be tough and 6 was going to be in play. I was trying to get a 9-iron through the little gap so I would have a 100 yard shot left, and it hit a tree.
“I was fighting for 5 from the start, and I ended up making a 6,” he said. “So it’s not like I lost too much.”
Now, the English player just appreciates the chance to play.
Casey reached as high as No. 3 in the world just four years ago until a series of injuries. He went through most of 2011 with a right foot problem, which made it painful to shift his weight during the swing. Just as he was regaining his strength, he broke his collarbone in a snowboard accident. Casey tried to return too early, but his game got worse and his world ranking plunged.
This was the second straight year he qualified for only two majors, and if not for his win at the Irish Open, he likely would have missed the PGA Championship.
“Without sounding sort of cocky, I feel like … I enjoy it out here. I belong out here; I love it out here,” Casey said after opening with a 67. “Having missed so many, I’m very appreciative being back on the big stage. It’s a classic tale of you don’t realize how much you’re missing something until it’s gone.”
By Tammy Bruce
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