CRAWFORD | Californian Chappell is mistake-free to claim share o - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Californian Chappell is mistake-free to claim share of PGA lead

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kevin Chappell wasn't watching on television when the U.S. Ryder Cup team put on a show in beating the Europeans at Valhalla Golf Club in 2008.

The 28-year-old Californian was playing at UCLA at the time, and "losing some brain cells" he said after his first round at the PGA Championship on Thursday.

He could afford to joke around after firing a 6-under par 65 that was good for a share of the clubhouse lead among the early group of players on the course.

Chappel's previous career highlight was helping UCLA win the NCAA team golf title in 2008, and winning the individual title himself on a dramatic bogey chip-in. He won the Jack Nicklaus award as national player of the year.

He had one Top 10 finish in his first year on the PGA Tourn, with a tie for third in the 2012 U.S. Open. He made 16 of 24 cuts the next year and had three Top 10 finishes. He had one Top 10 this year coming into the PGA Championship, and was ranked No. 107 in this week's world golf ranking.

"I've created some consistency in the middle of the leaderboard, which I haven't had in my career," Chappell said. "It's either been missed the cut or Top-10. It's nice to have that consistency. There's been a few, let's say, screws loose that needed some tightening to get me near the leaderboard.  Haven't putted great, so it was nice to see some putts go in today."

Chappell at one point had a two-stroke lead on Thursday. His 65 for the round was bogey-free with six birdies.

Don't expect to read much about Chappell. Sharing the lead with Westwood, with bigger names still to go out, means he's little more than a footnote in most discussion of this event. But he doesn't mind.

"I'm not afraid of looking at a leaderboard but I'm not necessarily studying it," Chappell said. "We are so early into this golf tournament that you're in the lead, you're in 20th place, it's not that big of a difference relative to the 72 holes we have to play."

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