Performed a quite stress-unfastened starting spherical on the 103rd PGA Championship on Thursday, doing so at a disturbing venue that doles the ones out approximately as frequently as Ebenezer Scrooge arms out schillings.
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) May 22, 2021
Even with acquainted winds from the east that hovered withinside the 10-15 mph variety for the afternoon rounds, Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course proved a brute. Conners, a person regarded usually for his stellar ball-striking, heated up the putter withinside the South Carolina sunshine, and conquered one of the PGA’s sternest assessments to the track of 5-beneath neath 67.
Number of participants in the competition
Only six different gamers controlled to shoot withinside the 60s, all with three-beneath neath 69s. That institution consists of two-time PGA champion Brooks Koepka and 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley. Also capturing three-beneath neath: Norway’s Viktor Hovland; England’s Sam Horsfield; New South Welshman Cam Davis; and Aaron Wise, South African-born and schooled in Oregon.
Defending champion Collin Morikawa published a stable spherical of 70, as did 5-time foremost champion Phil Mickelson, 2019 U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland and 5 others.
Conners, 29, a growing participant (he’s ranked thirty-ninth withinside the world) who has performed large in large activities in 2021, had however one blemish on his card, a bogey on the par-four ninth, in which his method from 186 yards completed over the green. He nonetheless made the flip in 34, then tacked on birdies on the 11th, fifteenth and sixteenth holes to submit the spherical of the day.
Connors position in the current PGA championship
“I type of began out the day thinking, ‘Why now no longer me?’” stated Conners, who tied for 7th on the Players PGA Championship and tied for 8th on the Masters. “There are birdies to be had. Just play with patience. You know, take benefit of the possibilities once they gift themselves.”
Conners is referred to as a high-skills ball-striker who would possibly contend greater frequently if he placed better (he ranks 86th at the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting). He laboured difficult at the vegetables in advance this week, the use of a metronome to locate greater rhythm in his stroke. He wanted handiest 24 putts in his starting spherical, creating a 33-footer for birdie on the par-three 5th and burying a key 55-footer from simply off the front of the tough par-four fifteenth.
In Thursday’s winds, gamers at once into the wind after the thirteenth hollow for a rugged completing stretch, and Conners performed his remaining 5 in 2 beneath neath. He almost brought one greater birdie at 18 however overlooked a danger from thirteen feet. “I knew the one’s holes have been tough,” Conners stated. “As quickly as you’re making the flip again into the wind on 14, the previous couple of holes, they’re all beasts. You don’t surely get any quick golf equipment to your hand. You’ve were given to hit stable shots, or you’re going to pay the price.”
Koepka, who gained the PGA in 2018 and 2019 (Tiger Woods, who gained in 1999-2000 and 2006-07, is the handiest different participant because the PGA moved to stroke play in 1958 to win again to again), shot 5-beneath neath, too. Well, kind of.
He began out his spherical through making a multitude of his starting hollow, the quite risk-free 10th, making double-bogey 6. He selected the incorrect membership off the tee and seeking to get again at the fairway hit a steep grass bunker face together along with his 2d shot. “Deserved each little bit of that double bogey,” he stated.