Pettersson takes early lead

European Tour

Sweden’s Carl Pettersson heads the USPGA Championship field after the first round at Kiawah Island.

Sweden’s Carl Pettersson heads the USPGA Championship field after the first round at Kiawah Island.

Pettersson shot a bogey-free round of 66 on the Ocean Course to hold a one-shot lead over Rory McIlroy, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Alexander Noren and Gary Woodland.

The Swede put much of his good play down to the favourable conditions – which replaced the thunderstorms found earlier in the week.

“There really wasn’t much wind on the front nine, so I knew I had to keep going low because I figured the wind would get up,” he said. “The wind started blowing a little bit on the back nine, and I carried on solid play. So it was a great day for me.”

Like Pettersson, McIlroy didn’t blot his copybook once on his way to a 68. Despite failing to make the most of some birdie opportunities, the Northern Irishman was satisfied with his round, calling it a “true reflection” of how he played.

John Daly and defending champion Keegan Bradley headed a group a further shot back on four-under-par that also includes Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott

Having fluffed his lines so badly in the closing stages of The Open, Scott will have been pleased to have get back on the major track so smoothly.

“So far, so good,” said the Australian. “It would be great to put two more rounds together and be coming here Sunday with a good look at the championship. If I don’t, then I’ll really feel like I’ve let it all slip this year for me.”

Former world number one Tiger Woods got his campaign off to a steady start with a 69. Woods produced a mixed round, with six birdies off-set by three bogeys.

While three shots off the pace, Woods was happy with his opening round.

“Anything in the 60s is going to be a good start in a major championship,” said the American. “And I’m right there.”

World number one Luke Donald began with a disappointing two-over par 74 while Lee Westwood’s woe at majors continued as he carded an opening round 75.

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