Up and down in first round

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, August 11, 2011

With three double-bogeys and two birdies, Nansemond-Suffolk alum Sean Dougherty shot a four-over par 74 in the first round of the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on Thursday.

In his first major championship and his first PGA Tour event, Dougherty made par on 10 of his first 11 holes. The exception was a double-bogey six on No. 6.

Dougherty got back to one-over par with a birdie on the 551-yard par-five No. 12, one of only two par fives on the par-70 course.

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Dougherty gave two shots back to par on No. 13; by far the shortest par four on the course at 372 yards.

“Six and 13 were holes where you were not expecting double, you’re looking to make birdie out there, there’s not a whole lot of them. So those were disappointing,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty birdied No. 15, a 260-yard par three, before finishing his round with a six on the closing hole, a 507-yard par four.

In a post-round interview with pga.com, Dougherty said poor drives set up all three of his rough holes.

“The shot on 18, and the tee shot on 13, and actually the tee shot on six were the cause for my doubles,” he said.

“Your miscues can cost you far more dearly here, that’s for sure. Other tournaments, you can get away with kind of an errant tee shot or poor club choice and maybe make par or bogey, but here, mistakes really compound it on these majors which is to be expected,” Dougherty said.

“We gave ourselves some opportunities and I didn’t make any putts today,” he said.

With a few golfers still on the course on Thursday evening, Dougherty stands in a large group tied for 93rd. The low 70 golfers make the cut following Friday’s round. Two-over par would be the cut line with most of the field through the first round.

Steve Stricker leads the tournament, having shot a seven-under par 63, equaling the lowest round ever shot in a major championship.

British Open champion Darren Clarke shot 78. Tiger Woods shot 77. Vijay Singh shot 76. Dougherty is tied with, among others, Ernie Els, Bubba Watson, Anthony Kim and 2010 U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell.

Dougherty. the head PGA professional at Milburn Country Club in Overland Park, Kan., is one of 20 club professionals in the PGA Championship. He qualified through his finish in the PGA Professional National Championship earlier this summer.