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Tough debut for Atwal at USPGA

August 12, 2005 13:52 IST

Arjun Atwal's historic debut at the US PGA Championship was a roller-coaster ride as he scrambled to a four-over-par 74 at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey.

The first Indian to play in the year's final Major, Atwal had the worst of starts on Thursday, going to four over par after three holes before battling back to bring his round to one-over through 12 holes with four birdies against one bogey.

However, the Baltusrol beast caught up with Atwal again as he dropped four shots over a stretch of five closing holes as he ended the day in tied 97th place.

Six players, Stuart Appleby, Trevor Immelman, Ben Curtis, Phil Mickelson, Stephen Ames and Rory Sabbatini all share the first round lead on 67.

World number one Tiger Woods, bidding for a third Major this season, slumped to a 75, a score which reflected on how difficult Baltusrol was playing.

Atwal opened bogey-bogey-double bogey to be four after three holes. But he recovered well with birdies on fourth and seventh, but then again dropped a shot on the ninth to be three-over 37 for the front nine.

Birdies on the tenth and 12th saw him claw his way back but then back to back bogeys on 13th and 14th and again on 16th and seventh set him back heavily.

A closing birdie was a consolation as he ended the day at four-over 74 and in tied 97th place. He would need to play a good second round to make himself noticed.

Former Asian Tour regular Ted Purdy shot a fine 69 to lie two off the pace while Korea's Kevin Na, the inaugural Volvo Masters of Asia champion in 2002, shot a 70 in his maiden Major appearance, swapping two birdies against two bogeys.

Last season's Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee struggled to a 76, shooting only one birdie for his round.

Korea's Yang Yong-eun and Choi Kyung-ju carded matching 71s while Hur Suk-ho returned a 76.

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