Clarke and Donald fight hard to stay in contention

A distinctly wintry feel again settled over the 86th USPGA Championship as the whole of the mid-west of America suffered from unseasonally cool temperatures. On the shores of Lake Michigan, Whistling Straits was showing more teeth after giving up generous scores on Thursday.

A distinctly wintry feel again settled over the 86th USPGA Championship as the whole of the mid-west of America suffered from unseasonally cool temperatures. On the shores of Lake Michigan, Whistling Straits was showing more teeth after giving up generous scores on Thursday.

Luke Donald was among those hoping to hold on to a good opening effort but, while he stumbled late in his round and finished with a 73, Phil Mickelson moved ominously up the leaderboard. Nick Faldo also made good early progress in an attempt to avoid missing the cut at all four majors in a season for the first time.

Donald birdied the first three holes in the first round and kept the momentum going to record a 67. At five under par he was alongside Vijay Singh, one behind Ernie Els and Justin Leonard, and only two back from the first day leader, Darren Clarke.

Clarke's opening 65, his lowest round in a major championship, kept the Irishman, who is 36 today, at the top of the leaderboard all day. He was a late starter yesterday, as were Els and Leonard.

Briny Baird, a 32-year-old from Florida, twice managed to get to nine under par but a bogey at the 15th left him a stroke ahead of Clarke at three under for the round. The son of Butch Baird, a regular on the senior circuit in the States, he has yet to win on the USPGA Tour.

Mickelson, who opened with a 69, had not played since finishing third in the Open, which followed his victory at the Masters and a runner-up finish at the US Open. The left-handed American said he felt a bit rusty, but had given up the chance to play in last week's International tournament at altitude in Denver in order to do his now usual three days of preparation at the major venues.

Starting at the short par-four 10th, Mickelson picked up a birdie and then added another at the 15th, at 518 yards the longest par-four ever at a major tournament. He then picked up his third shot of the day at the par-five 16th to be six under par.

Faldo also started on the back nine and went one better than Mickelson in taking only 32 strokes. Birdies at the 10th and 11th were followed by doubling up at the 15th and 16th.

After moving up three of the tees on Thursday, the course was playing its full length of 7,514 yards. Donald birdied the 12th to get to six under but coming home bogeyed the third and seventh, both par-threes on the front nine."The course was definitely tougher today," Donald said.

"The tees were all the way back and some of the pins were also at the back of the greens. Yesterday I hit two-iron and six-iron at the 18th, but today it was a driver and a three-wood.

"It wasn't a bad round. I hit a lot of greens but didn't capitalise on my chances. The course is definitely getting harder and if I can have a good weekend I should have a good chance," he added.

Donald, who is in his third year as a professional but has played mainly in the States to date, is currently a leading candidate for one of Bernhard Langer's wildcards after winning the Scandinavian Masters two weeks ago. But his steady, uncomplicated style could still earn him an automatic place.

"I'm trying not to think about the Ryder Cup, but it's important for me to continue to play well to give myself a chance to make the team and show Bernhard I'm in good form if I don't make it automatically," Donald said.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea