ST. LOUIS — Of course, Rickie Fowler would have given the world to wear the blue shirt he laid out for the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

Instead he put on bright yellow – a shirt that matched the color hat his buddy Jarrod Lyle liked to wear when he played.

Lyle, an Australian golfer, died Wednesday night after a long bout with leukemia. Tributes to him were everywhere at Bellerive Country Club, mainly in the form of yellow ribbons that many players pinned to their hats.

A fellow Aussie, Jason Day, lived across the street from Lyle in Orlando, Florida, during their early playing days.

“It’s hard because you sit there and you know him, and he’s a buddy of yours, and he’s not there anymore,” said Day, who choked up discussing the former PGA Tour player, who died at age 36.

Fowler wore a yellow pin on his hat last week, after Lyle said he was ending treatment.

He wanted to do something more this time.

“You think about it as far as, Jarrod wouldn’t want us out here feeling sorry for him or feeling bad or anything,” Fowler said. “(He’d) probably come out here and kick us in the butt, and tell us to man up and go have some fun.”

IT’S HARD to blame club pro Matt Dobyns for thinking big. He opened with three birdies.

“You start dreaming. You see your name up there, I’m two back of the lead, you think, ‘What the hell?’ You never know,” Dobyns said.

Almost as quickly, it was over.

Dobyns blocked his tee shot on the fifth hole into the right rough. He pounded his second shot down into a tree root and the ball popped up and advanced about 4 feet. He didn’t know he had broken his 4-iron so he lined up for another swing. The clubhead sawed off and went almost as far as the ball. That resulted in the first of two triple-bogeys, and he finished with a 76.

The lesson from all this?

“We always come back to the mean,” Dobyns said. “You don’t know how long that wave’s going to last. They key is to not go crashing off the wave and onto the barrier reef.”

Instead of challenging for the lead, Dobyns will have to scramble to make the cut. But, boy, was that a start to remember.

“I’m just thinking, this is how it’s supposed to go,” he said. “I mean, I know that streak’s not going to just keep going, but I’ve been coming out of the gate strong all year. It wasn’t a surprise. I hit good shots.”

IT’S THE SORT of thing you’d see at the local muni. Justin Thomas saw it at the PGA Championship.

On his final hole, he drove into a fairway bunker, and the ball came to rest inside an unraked pitch mark. He had no choice but to pitch out and ended up making bogey to close out with a 1-under 69.

“I’ve never had my ball end up in somebody else’s pitch mark in a bunker before,” he said. “That was a pretty terrible break on my last hole. Could have cost me one or two strokes. It’s just unfortunate for someone not to rake it, but it is what it is.”