The course played so difficult that the afternoon groups were delayed 20 minutes, and one player failed to finish — Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, who was 1 over for the tournament and will return Saturday morning to complete his round. The scoring average was 78.11. The previous record for the PGA Championship was 76.8 in the opening round at Llanerch Country Club in 1958.
Singh is 49 and without a PGA Tour win in nearly four years. He stood tall in the wind, however, even as he kept his head down.
"After a while, you don't really think about your score," said Singh, whose last major victory was at the 2004 PGA on the first visit to Whistling Straits. "You just think about each hole, each shot and just try not to mess up. It was one of my better rounds. I didn't strike the ball as good, but I scored really, really well. And I think that was the key."
There were 44 players under par after the opening day. Going into the weekend, there were only 10.
Rory McIlroy didn't make a birdie until his 14th hole — a tough par 3 that he has birdied both rounds — and had a 75. He was at 2-under 142, along with Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who had a 73 and was thrilled after his morning round. "That's the best I can do," he said.
Adam Scott also had a 75 to join the group at 143 that included Aaron Baddeley (75), Blake Adams (72) and former Masters champion Trevor Immelman (72).
"I thought 2 over today was like shooting 2 under yesterday," Pettersson said. "I hit some squirrely shots, which is typical when it's blowing 30 mph. But I hit some really good ones, too."
Mickelson, who is No. 8 in the Ryder Cup standings going into the final week of qualifying, came out firing into the wind with a 4-iron to about 2 feet and then a driver off the fairway to give himself a decent chance at birdie on the 11th. He didn't advance any further up the leaderboard. He also didn't fall too far back, and that was just as important. He was in the group at even-par 144, not knowing what the weekend will hold.
Graeme McDowell had a 76 and was tied with Mickelson, still only four shots behind.
"I was very happy to get off that golf course, I have to say," McDowell said. "I'm trying to think of the last time I remember a golf course playing this difficult, because it's a links wind, blowing across a golf course which is super soft, with some of the most difficult pins on the course out there. It's brutal."
Woods was not immune to the windy conditions. With a sand wedge in his hand on the third, he knocked it over the green and appeared headed for bogey until his 20-foot par putt was true all the way. He looked solid on par putts at No. 5 and No. 7, and his chip from below the ridge on the ninth stopped a turn from falling.
He never looked as if he would miss, even rolling in a 12-foot par putt on the 17th. The only big blip came at the 18th, his second bogey of the round. Already this week, the PGA statisticians have Woods for 23 one-putt greens. Asked if there was a putting performance that stood out among his 14 majors, he cited the 1997 Masters and 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He won those two by a combined 27 shots.
Then again, he had put some distance between him and the field.
This PGA Championship remains wide open, and so much depends on whether the wind continues to blow, and the scores continue to soar.
Doug Wade, a club pro from Dayton, Ohio, had a 93. That was one shot away from the PGA Championship record for the worst score. Michael Frye, a club pro from Sedona, Ariz., finished par-birdie-par on three of the tougher holes for a 90.
They weren't alone, of course. Mahan and Fowler had 80, Kuchar an 82, Nick Watney an 81. It was a long list of suffering, so difficult that no one would embarrassed or angry. Most were just happy to be off the golf course.
"If you had a golf course like this and you asked me to go and play golf in windy conditions, I'd say, 'No, I'm not going to play.' I guess nobody is going to go out and play in conditions like this," Singh said. "But it's a major, and we have to go out there and just struggle and manage yourself the best you can."
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