The newly-renovated Quail Hollow Club showed its teeth during the first round of the 99th PGA Championship. Thursday’s scoring average was 74.74, the highest of the year’s major opening rounds. While the changes to the course were generally positive, one hole seemed to receive a heavy dose of criticism.
The brand new par-3 fourth hole doesn’t look like much on the card at 184 yards, but it gave the players fits on day one, mainly because of its unforgiving, undulating green.
That is except for Joost Luiten who made an ace during the first competitive round in its existence.
“It’s too undulating. I think if they had made the green a little bit flatter, it would have been a little bit better,” reigning U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka, who fired a 3-under 68, said after his round.
The hole played to a 3.29 stroke average, making it the seventh most difficult on the day, but it was how the best players in the world were scrambling to make par on a hole where they have a mid-to-short iron in their hands that brought the complaints.
The early stats and sentiments back up players’ concerns. https://t.co/Q1AqthyCBV
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) August 10, 2017
“I think it’s definitely not like the other 17,” said PGA Tour rookie Grayson Murray said after his round of 68. “I mean, that’s the only way to put it. I played with Peter Uihlein today, and he hit a shot. I think he hit a 7-iron, and he landed two feet left pin high and it goes over the green and he makes 4. That’s a little absurd.”
Patrick Reed took it a step further pointing out that the pin position was questionable given the firmness of the putting surface.
“I hit a full 7 today, I launched it to the moon and I pushed it from where my line was right at the flag. It landed three yards short of the hole and still went over the green.”
It should be interesting to see how the PGA of America sets the pins the rest of the week given the player feedback.
Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and American Kevin Kisner lead the way by one at 4-under par over a host of players including Koepka and Gary Woodland. Rickie Fowler made a triple bogey and still shot a 2-under 69, which is T8.
Jason Day and current World No.1 Dustin Johnson shot 1-under par 70s. Jordan Spieth, who is vying to become the youngest ever winner of the career grand slam, and two-time PGA Champ Rory McIlroy both posted 1-over.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s highlights:
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