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Having promised he was not traumatised by his painful Open defeat three weeks ago, Adam Scott took a big step towards defeating the demons of Royal Lytham with an excellent first-round performance in the PGA Championship yesterday. A score of 68, four under par, left Scott in a tie for sixth and just two shots off Carl Pettersson’s early lead at Kiawah Island.

It was a characteristically calm and controlled performance by Scott as the afternoon breezes began to pick up off the Atlantic. The Australian picked up birdies at the par-four first, and then four more at all the par-fives on the Ocean Course. With just one bogey on the card, this was exactly the first round Scott needed here in ‘Glory’s last shot’, the final major of the year.

“It was a pretty good round of golf,” said Scott, 32, after his round with Sergio Garcia and Hunter Mahan. “I wasn’t feeling 100% with it all out there, but I controlled my game nicely. My short game was sharp when it needed to be, which is important because it’s just a hard golf course and you’re not going to hit every green.”

With so many raised greens on this Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course, there is no sense of forgiveness around the greens here, apart from the fact that this week the golfers are allowed to take sand with their practice swings in all bunkers and sandy areas on the course.

“I think that is the most odd thing I’ve ever experienced,” laughed Scott, on testing the sand before bunker shots. “I took a practice swing and it looks kind of funny, and I think the guys in the group were sniggering at it as well.”

Scott was one of eight golfers to finish on four under par in the first round, and with Aaron Baddeley and Geoff Ogilvy also among them, it was a strong early showing by the Australian contingent here.

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

Scott, Garcia and Mahan go from the 10th tee at 8:am this morning (US Eastern time) in the second round.

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, official car of the 2012 PGA Championship