BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The only player in the PGA Championship with a chance to finish in the top 10 of a major for the fourth time this year didn't get off to a very auspicious start at Oakland Hills. Playing in the second group of the day, Robert Karlsson made a double bogey on the par-4 first when his approach bounced off the back edge of the green, hit a cart path and ended up far over the putting surface. But the Swede recovered with birdies on his next three holes and, five hours after he began, finished with a two-under 68, tied for tops among players in the morning half of the field.
Karlsson finished T-8 at the Masters, T-4 at the U.S. Open and T-7 at the British, the latter coming when he shot 69 in the final round after being T-48 through 54 holes.
It's an unexpectedly successful major season for the 38-year-old. Prior to the Masters, Karlsson had gone more than 15 years without a top-10 in a major (T-5, 1992 British Open). "I'm comfortable playing in the big events and before I had a bit of a problem," Karlsson said. "I tried too hard and I sort of pushed it too much so I always made a lot of mistakes. This year the swing is better, but I definitely feel a lot calmer.
"I tried to force results, tried to make it happen instead of just going out and playing," he said. "I didn't play my golf. I tried to play somebody else's golf and I couldn't see how my golf was good enough to get around these kind of golf courses."