Golf

Weeks: DeLaet in fine form at PGA Championship

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Bob Weeks
8/8/2014 8:55:36 AM
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If there was a clear sign that Graham DeLaet was over the flu that kept him bed-ridden for most of the week, it came in the form of a Wednesday night Tweet:

"After 4 days of being sick, doing some BBQ'ing and drinking a cold beer. The kid is back!"

The second sign was evident at Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday where DeLaet fashioned a solid round of two-under 69. Despite seeing the 18 holes just once before the tournament started, he played like a member.
 
"I felt pretty good this morning for the first time," said DeLaet. "I woke up and felt pretty normal and went through my regular routine. I didn't really know exactly what to expect out there because my preparation wasn't there but I played well."

DeLaet started well with a birdie on his first hole but his unfamiliarity with the course bit him on the second. He played what he thought was a perfect tee shot but the line was off and his ball ran through the dogleg into the rough, leading a bogey.

He rolled in a 25-footer on the sixth hole for another birdie and added two more on 10 and 11. Two bogeys on 14 and 17, along with a birdie on the 16th rounded out his day.

In addition to his health, the competitiveness was also back in DeLaet. That was clear on the final hole when he was expecting better results from his second shot which landed hard and bounced over the green. When he arrived at his ball, he slapped his glove on his thigh, obviously upset that his shot wasn't perfect.

"I was a little disappointed to finish like that," he admitted. "I hit two great shots on 18 and had to chip out of a tricky lie but I played really well and I'm happy with that. It was a good start."

That's the DeLaet that has been so successful on the course, the DeLaet who equalled the course record at Royal Montreal two weeks ago and the DeLaet who was hot after missing the cut at the British Open.

He's feisty, determined. This is guy who says he likes to win at everything, even when he's playing cards against his wife.

On this day, however, he gave a lot of credit to his other partner, caddie Julien Trudeau whose pre-tournament reconnaissance he relied on several times throughout the day.

"I feel like Julien did a really good job," he said. "He was kind of guiding me around on a couple of holes I didn't know the exact line but it was a good day."

Overall, DeLaet was on form missing just three fairways and hitting 13 greens on the day. That's a good sign that his game that was heating up before he fell ill, has remained now that he's better.

"It was bad timing," he said of the bug. "I was really starting to find my form the last couple of months. There's usually two or three times a year when you feel you're playing really well and this was one of them, so bad timing. But it feels like I can kind of pick up where I left off.

This is DeLaet's sixth major and after making the cut in the British a year ago, he's missed in the next four including all three this year. He's on a good path towards ending that streak here.

A good round on Friday will most certainly make him feel a whole lot better.

Graham DeLaet  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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