Hannah Green faces a monstrous task as her PGA Championship title defence got off to a horror start at a difficult Aronimink Golf Club on Thursday.
The defending champion was among a trio of past tournament winners namely Danielle Kang and Brooke Henderson to begin their round together to warm applause by selected guests on the 10th tee, but it all went downhill from there.
The Australian shot a nine-over 79 to be 12 shots behind joint leaders Brittany Lincicome and Kelly Tan.
Green, who is close to the rear of the field, will have to go very low on Friday to make the cut after five bogeys and two double bogeys cruelled her chances.
Overall it was a disappointing day for the Australian contingent.
Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk and Su Oh all shot three-over 73, to be in a tie for 55th, while Sarah Jane Smith is a further five five shots behind.
The wind made conditions difficult with only 12 players managing better than par.
Lincicome, a two-time winner of the ANA Inspiration and eight LPGA Tour victories, played bogey-free to match Tan and keep her first Women's PGA title in sight.
The 35-year-old Florida player is trying to win for the first time since having a baby last July. One of the biggest hitters on the Tour, she found her groove at 6,577-yard Aronimink, missing only one green.
"I never tried to swing hard with the driver off the tee today," she said. "I was just literally, 'Get it in the fairway and then worry about the next shot.' And then on the green, aiming in very specific spots."
"Winning golf tournaments out here is life-changing. It's very emotional even when I watched them win. I wish to do that one day." – Kelly Tan
Danielle Kang, Lydia Ko, Gabby Lopez, Carlota Ciganda and Linnea Strom were a stroke back. Lopez and Ciganda tested positive this year for COVID-19, but have rebounded and were in great shape headed into the second day.
One group was unable to finish the round because of darkness.
The 26-year-old Tan, who has never finished better than 30th in any of her previous majors, played bogey-free on the back nine.
Tan has been looking for her breakthrough victory on the LPGA Tour and has played better of late after she failed to make the cut this year at the Women's British Open.
She played like a contender at Aronimink.
"My ball-striking has been really good and I think that's been a key and it's been giving me a lot of confidence going into the next day," Tan said.
First-time major champions – even those not among the top 50 in the world – are becoming common on the Tour.
Eight of the last nine major champions had never won one before.
"Winning golf tournaments out here is life-changing," she said. "It's very emotional even when I watched them win. I wish to do that one day."