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August 8, 2008

 

Nightmare for Manning

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICH. — The first day of the dream turned into a monstrous nightmare for Cortland Country Club professional Eric Manning.
Four double bogeys led to an 11-over par 81 for Manning after he wrapped up his weather/darkness-delayed first round of the 90th PGA Championship in Bloomfield Township, Michigan this morning.
Manning made the turn at five-over par (40) after two double-bogeys, two bogeys and one birdie on the back nine at the Oakland Hills Country Club South Course, nicknamed “The Monster,” and playing 3,713 yards to a par 35.
On his back nine, the front nine at Oakland Hills, the 43-year-old Homer Central graduate carded a six-over-par 41, including a double bogey on the 257-yard, par-3 ninth hole, the one hole he needed to finish this morning.
In all, Manning played 10 holes as the winds picked up and the greens dried up with thunderstorms approaching. He waited through a 90-minute rain delay before resuming his first round, but darkness forced play to be suspended after Manning finished his 17th hole.
“I was just in the rough too many times,” said Manning. “This is a really hard course to play on a good day. I hit some good shots, but there was just enough wind that some shots landed in a difficult spot.”
“It was hard to restart after stopping,” Manning added of the rain-delay. “I will just get some rest tonight and head out early to finish my first round and play my second round.”
Without some the earlier winds, some top players like John Daly (74, +4), Vijay Singh (76, +6) and Stuart Appleby (76) struggled. Manning’s buddies, Rocco Mediate and Paul Azinger, shot 73 and 72 respectively. The leaders after the first round at two-under par 68 are Robert Karlsson, Jeev Milkha Singh and Andres Romero.
“I will just need to try to shoot par today and see what happens,” said Manning. “You are not going to make up many strokes because of the difficulty of this course. You just need to shoot par. The cut could easily be 11 or 12 over par.”
One thing that could help Manning would be the return of his solid drives off the tee. That is where he got into trouble, but some of those problems were caused by the increasing winds.
Some of very tough distance holes on the South Course are the fifth (490 yards, par-4), eighth (491, par-4), 12th (593, par-5), 14th (501, par-4) and 18th (499, par-4) along with the ninth.
“You really can’t think about the distances,” said Manning. “All you can do is go out and play each hole as best you can individually.”
Manning did that fairly well with four pars and one bogey, but double-bogeyed the ninth this morning, which was his final hole of the first round.
With nine pars and one birdie that came on the par-4 16th hole, Manning does have the opportunity to put a good number on the board in round two. Manning headed off the first tee to start the second round at 9:20 this morning with first-round partners James Kingston (+2) and George McNeill (+8).