As Danny Lee was saying on Thursday after he shot 64 in the first round of the PGA Championship, golf is hard.
And so it was for him on Friday on Bethpage Black, getting up before the crack of dawn for a 6:45 a.m. tee time and starting on the 10th hole, a bear of a par-4. “Maybe I should have pitched a tent by the putting green,” he mused.
After wresting a par on 10th he made bogeys on 11 and 12. Then consecutive double bogeys on 15 and 16 with what he thought were unlucky bounces and lies.
“I did get a tough break on 15 and 16,” he said. “And I was actually trying to hit to the left greenside bunker on 15 with my second shot, and I saw a hop, it definitely landed toward the bunker, and I don't know how on earth that ball was plugged into that bunker.
“And next hole I was trying to hit it in the front right bunker with my second shot, just stopped short of that bunker and I had a downhill flop shot, not much green, and then two doubles.”
It would add up to 6-over-par 41 for the nine.
“Bethpage kicked my [butt] on the front nine,” Lee said. “I felt like every single hole on the back nine was freaking hard. I don't know if it was me or the wind. I don't know. But, yeah, any of the back nine felt super hard.”
But there was no time to pout. This is a major championship and there were still plenty of holes to go. Making the turn on to the front nine, he birdied the par-4 first and the tough par-3 third and the gettable par-5 fourth. After back to back bogeys on six and seven, he got a birdie on the par-3 eighth and finished with a 74, avoiding what earlier appeared to be a train wreck.
“It doesn't look like I have a different option than — any other option than just suck it up and keep playing,” Lee said. “And might as well get the best out of it. And I made quite a few birdies on the back nine.”