Chaska: Robert Allenby led the way for the Australian contingent at the US PGA Championship on Thursday, thoroughly enjoying his first round 69 and refusing to let a double bogey dampen his mood at Hazeltine.
Allenby, who tied for second at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, capitalised on some efficient putting with a new cross-handed grip to post five birdies on the longest layout to host a major.
"Pretty much all day I hit the ball well. I putted well," he told reporters.
"I felt comfortable all day. I even felt comfortable as I was making my double bogey."
Allenby was four under until his stumble at the par-five 15th, but he bounced back with a birdie at 16.
"You're going to make some mistakes, I guess," he said. "As long as I can keep them to a minimum. I mean, the whole game, it's all there."
Tied with Allenby, two shots behind first-round leader Tiger Woods, was compatriot Mathew Goggin.
Goggin, who had a bogey at the par-four 12th but hit back with birdies at 16 and 17, also spoke of finding a comfort level at Hazeltine.
"I just felt comfortable, holed out well from inside 10 feet and that's where most of my birdie opportunities were from," said Goggin.
"I didn't really make anything long but made a couple of nice par putts inside 10 feet and four good birdie putts."
Former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy shot one-under 71, overcoming two bogeys in his first five holes.
"If you told me after five holes I was going to be under par after the end of it, I would have been happy," he said.
"If you miss the fairways out here it's really hard because the rough is really thick. I missed a couple fairways, made a couple of bogeys."
It was not all sweetness and light for the Australians, as Adam Scott struggled to a 10-over 82 that left him tied for 151st.
First Published: Friday, August 14, 2009, 10:40