LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rob Corcoran, the teaching pro from Long Island's East End, had a little of everything in his first round at a major championship, including one of the best shots that anyone hit during Thursday's first round of the PGA Championship.
Corcoran sank a 20-yard shot for birdie on the sixth hole, on his way to a 5-over-par 76 -- one of the better scores among club pros Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club.
"Pat Perez was chipping out of the rough about 10 yards in back of us, hit the flagstick and left it on the lip," the teacher at Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack said. "Rob and I were saying, 'Let's make this one. We know it's possible.' It went right in the center."
On the fourth hole, he had made even more important shots. Corcoran had just made double bogey, was three over after only three holes and was in danger of having the round spin out of control. But he hit a perfect drive, hit an approach within 10 feet and made a birdie 3. He credited Sullivan, with whom he plays on the Florida winter mini-tour circuit. "Rob's been great. He said, 'Just play like a champion. A champion would make birdie here,' " Corcoran said.
Despite not driving as well as he normally does, regardless of mid-irons that he called "average" and notwithstanding a misguided attempt at a "miraculous shot" on No. 15 (resulting in a water ball and double bogey), Corcoran called the entire experience "fabulous."
"The way they announce your name coming up to the 18th green, having those first-tee jitters . . . we're having a blast," the club pro said. "I didn't shoot myself out of it. I would have liked to shoot a few strokes lower, but quite honestly, I didn't play well enough to shoot much lower."