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?
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor