Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 8/8/13
Matt Kuchar knows how it feels to make clutch birdies at Oak Hill. And to be outdone by another player. Fifteen years ago, he lost a classic match-play duel to then-teen sensation Sergio Garcia in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur on the course that's hosting this week's PGA Championship. Garcia won 2 and 1 that day in 1998, when Kuchar was the defending champion. There were seven hole-winning birdies in the match. ''Certainly I talked about it in practice rounds, the match we had,'' Kuchar said. ''I have a lot of fans out here that remember the `98 Amateur, so got a lot of people cheering me on and rooting for me.'' Starting his first round on the 10th tee, he was even through eight holes Thursday before making a long birdie putt. That started a run of three birdies in six holes as he seeks his first major title. Kuchar shot a bogey-free 67 to finish at 3 under, one of six players tied for fifth, two strokes behind leaders Adam Scott and Jim Furyk. ''I made eight pars in a row and looked like it was going to be nine pars in a row, and that putt snuck in and it was nice to finally get one,'' the 35-year-old Kuchar said. ''Was able to hit a close approach shot on 2 and was able to seemingly get things going kind of quickly.'' Garcia, meanwhile, shot a 69. --- CASEY'S BACK: Paul Casey used to be a regular at major championships, sometimes even high on the leaderboard. Now, the English player just appreciates the chance to play. Casey reached as high as No. 3 in the world just four years ago until a series of injuries. He went through most of 2011 with a right foot problem, which made it painful to shift his weight during the swing. Just as he was regaining his strength, he broke his collarbone in a snowboard accident. Casey tried to return too early, but his game got worse and his world ranking plunged. This was the second straight year he qualified for only two majors, and if not for his win at the Irish Open, he likely would have missed the PGA Championship. ''Without sounding sort of cocky, I feel like ... I enjoy it out here. I belong out here; I love it out here,'' Casey said after opening with a 67. ''Having missed so many, I'm very appreciative being back on the big stage. It's a classic tale of you don't realize how much you're missing something until it's gone.'' Casey didn't show up at Oak Hill in perfect health. He was so sick last week at Firestone that he got in only one practice round at Oak Hill on Wednesday. ''Maybe it was the best thing I could have done was to save energy for today, and I did feel fresh,'' he said. --- FRASER'S FLIP: Australia's Marcus Fraser was a combined 23 over for the U.S. Open and British Open this year. He appeared headed for more of the same when he opened the first round of the PGA Championship with two bogeys. Then Fraser didn't make another bogey the rest of the way. Five birdies over an 11-hole stretch gave him a 67. ''A bogey, bogey start was pretty standard for the way things are going the last few months,'' he said. ''Went out there and just gave it everything I got at the time. Been struggling a bit, and everything sort of came together.'' --- DIVOTS: The prize money for the PGA Championship is at $8 million for the third straight year. First place is $1,445,000. Everyone who misses the cut gets $2,500. ... The last time Scott Piercy played a round at a major, he made two triple bogeys in an 88 to miss the cut at the British Open. He had no such problems Thursday, shooting 67. ... Fifty-one-year-old Kohki Idoki, the Senior PGA champion, made four straight birdies starting on the second hole to quickly move to 4 under. But he had four bogeys and a double bogey in his last 10 holes for a 2-over 72. ... Bo Van Pelt opened with an 80 and withdrew with a hip injury. ... Rob Labritz, the golf director at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y., had the honor of hitting the opening tee shot of the PGA. He was 8 over through six holes and closed with 11 straight pars for a 78.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Thunder interested in trading for Carmelo Anthony

Report: Price told Eckersley ‘get the f— out of here’ on team flight

Jerry Jones: ‘I had a wonderful time before this social media hit’

Report: Pirates ‘leaning against’ Andrew McCutchen trade

Devin McCourty: Talk of Patriots going 19-0 is ‘ridiculous’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mayweather says he will stand ‘toe to toe’ with McGregor

Report: Derrick Rose ‘leaning toward’ signing with Cavs

Report: Irving believes LeBron leaked word of trade request

Spieth tells caddie to 'get that' after incredible eagle putt

Jerry Jones weighs in on NFL's Ezekiel Elliott investigation

Report: Les Miles 'extremely interested'; in Ole Miss job

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

Kicking It: USMNT struggles to find consistency in Gold Cup as World Cup qualifying nears

Three Up, Three Down: The Dodgers are a complete juggernaut right now

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Box Score 7/21: Stay cool this weekend sports fans

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker