Branden Grace would have been disappointed with his 77 in the first round of the PGA Championship. Photo: AP

JOHANNESBURG – Louis Oosthuizen produced a solid opening one-under 70 in the first round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.

The 2010 Open Champion was the best of the seven South Africans in the field. Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark and American Kevin Kisner led the way on four-under 67.

Oosthuizen had his struggles early on in his round, falling to two-over after eight with three dropped shots in four holes.

The 34-year-old showed his experience on the back nine, starting off with two birdies in a row before a stunning eagle at the par-five 15th to get to two-under for his round.

A bogey at the par-three 17th would leave a sour taste in his mouth, but Oosthuizen is certainly well-placed in 15th position with three rounds remaining at the year’s final major.

Dylan Frittelli carded a respectable two-over 73 for a share of 44th, alongside countryman Richard Sterne.

Charl Schwartzel was a further stroke adrift with 74 for a share of 62nd.

Branden Grace, the South African favourite based on current form, would have been disappointed with his six-over 77 and 108th position on the leaderboard.

Brandon Stone also battled on day one as he shot an eight-over 79 for 127th place. If he does not manage a round well under par on Friday, he will not be around for the weekend.

The 24-year-old, however, will console himself that he will more than likely play many more majors in his fledgling career.

Ernie Els, in contrast, will probably have one round remaining in his PGA Championship career after falling to a deflating opening nine-over 80 and 138th position.

Playing in his 100th major at the age of 47, the Big Easy would have hoped to make the cut at the very least.

The four-time major champion, however, may have some good advice to share instead with the young South African contenders at the other end of the field.

African News Agency (ANA)