TULSA, Oklahoma — Rory McIlroy didn’t have to worry about finishing in the top 5 in the majors after taking a first-round lead Friday at the 104th PGA Championship at South Hills Country Club. name achievement.
McIlroy made nine singles over the first 12 holes, hitting 10 shots over 320 yards for a 5-under 65 to take the lead after the first 18 holes. It was the fourth time in his career he had a 65 or higher in the opening round of a major, the most of any player in the Masters era (since 1934), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“I came here and played really well,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been in good shape. Obviously, I learned a lot in the final round at Augusta, played well in DC at Wells Fargo and played well in practice earlier in the week it is good.”
It was the first time McIlroy has led after the first round of a major since the 2014 PGA Championship in Valhalla. The first-round leader has won the event four times since 2000: Tiger Woods (2000), Phil Mickelson (2005), Jimmy Walker (2016) and Brooks Koepka (2019).
There are plenty of familiar names around McIlroy, including Will Zara Torres (4-under), Justin Thomas (3-under), Zander Schauffele (under-par). 2 par) and Cameron Smith (2 under).
Smith, who won the Players Championship in March and played his final game at the Masters on Sunday, made seven birdies (as many as McIlroy) in the first round on Thursday, and was on the verge of winning. Leading the field in at-bats: Close. Schauffele has the ball very well and is one of the best tacklers on the field.
Zara Torres, 25, is one of the best hitters in the world and, until Thursday, wasn’t one of the best putters. Zara Torres ranks 185th in field goal attempts: Putting enters the week. But he led the category Thursday, even with a 3-putt on the 18th. His 150-foot putt is the most of any round on the PGA Tour, and his putt is over 20 feet long.
“Yeah, take those and run with them,” Zara Torres said.
Zalatoris missed the cut at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. It will be interesting to see if his putt lasts through the final 54 holes, or if he just catches lightning in the bottle on Thursday. He has finished in the top 10 four times in six majors.
“I see myself as a point forward, obviously, in the first six majors of my career, but most importantly, I think it’s an attitude I’ve always wanted to achieve since I was a kid. Little kid, it’s kind of a freedom,” Zara Torres said. “Obviously, it’s Thursday. My thoughts are far from lingering on this issue, but my general attitude is that you get four of these a year, they’re special, and I don’t want to leave any chance.”
Scottie Scheffler smashed his second shot to the green from 308 yards to set up the eagle putt.
Masters champion Scotty Scheffler on a roller coaster in the opening round. The world number one eagled the 665-yard fifth hole with a second shot from 10 feet from 307 yards. But on the back nine, he hit just three fairways and made four bogeys. He also showed some palpable frustration, yelling angrily when the putt on the 17th didn’t break the way he expected.
On the 18th, Scheffler smashed the ball into the creek that crossed the fairway, but hit an impressive, unlikely up-and-down for par from 189 yards. He ended up with a 71, one over. He’s started 11 consecutive rounds under par on the tour. The last time he was over par after the first round was at the Houston Open on Nov. 14, 2021.
“I mean, it’s still early; there’s still a lot of golf to play,” Scheffler said. “I think I’m back 6 now, so 6 shots in three days really isn’t a big deal. I’m definitely a lot behind than I would have liked, but at the end of the day I’ll probably be No. 40. It’s those golf courses. One, you can have a really good round out there, so for me, just see what the weather will be like tomorrow morning and go from there.”
What can we get from tigers?
Tiger Woods slammed his club after hitting the ball in a bunker on the green.
Woods looked pretty good at the start of the first round, birdieing two of his first five holes. But Woods shot 6-over after that and finished with a 4-over 74. He will try to advance on Friday.
To make matters worse, Woods seemed miserable. The lameness in his surgically repaired right leg was more pronounced on the front nine, his second of the day.
“It used to feel better,” Woods said. “It hurts a bit now, we’ll go back and start the preparation process [Friday]. “
As Woods did at the Masters in April, he said his recovery will include several ice baths to try to quell inflammation in his right leg. The bigger question ahead is how much Woods’ mobility will improve in the weeks and months ahead. There are countless screws, plates and pins on his right leg and foot. His ankle will never turn like it used to. Neither will his fused lower spine.
When McIlroy and Jordan Spieth teeed past him on Thursday, it was clear Woods would never play golf like he used to. When his playing partner pulls the driver out of the bag, he often opts for the long irons. Woods was 139th in driving distance (293.4 yards) out of 156 players, including 20 PGA club pros and former champion Sean Mitchell.
“Those guys obviously have different game plans,” Woods said. “It’s just different. The game is very different now and it’s very aggressive. We talked about it today, [caddy] Joey [LaCava] And me, the days of Lee Janzens and Scott Simpsons [Nick] The Faldos of the world, playing that kind of golf no more. You go there a lot and hit drivers and if you have a hot week you have a hot week and you are there. “
Who else has work to do?
Over the past few years, there have been two familiar sights at the PGA Championship: John Daly riding a wagon drinking Diet Coke and Brooks Koepka’s name on the leaderboard Top five.
Koepka, who won the event in 2018 and 2019, finished in the top five at the end of 14 of the past 16 rounds of the PGA Championship. That wasn’t the case on Thursday, however, when Koepka shot a 5-over 75 at South Mountain. The four-time major champion made three bogeys on his first four holes (his 3-over 3-over after five was his worst at the PGA Championship), and was on the front court. Shot 40 5-over par.
Koepka, 32, has been plagued by knee and hip injuries for the past few months. He has not played since being eliminated at the Masters in April.
Other big names with work to do over the weekend include: Jordan Spieth (2 on), Colin Morikawa (2 on), Hideki Matsuyama (2 on), Dustin Johnson (3 on), Joan Rahm (3-over), Daniel Berger (3-over), Patrick Cantley (6-over) and Adam Scott (7-over).
Bad weather coming?
Players including Scheffler, Lahm, Thomas and Cantlay on Thursday afternoon are likely to face stronger gusts on Friday morning.
The forecast calls for scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday afternoon with winds of 15 to 25 mph. Temperatures are expected to drop from highs in the near 90s on Friday to the 60s over the weekend.
Max Homa even hit par in the first round, and he might be hoping for rain in Tulsa.
I’m currently losing to Rory by 5 and Allergy by 1000.I like challenges
— Max Homa (@maxhoma23) May 19, 2022
Winds weakened early on Thursday before picking up later in the day.
“I know the wind,” said Abraham Ancer, who played in Oklahoma. “It can blow, it can be gusty. For tall trees, it can be a little bit tricky where it’s coming from. A couple of times you feel it blowing from one side and then you see the pins blowing to the other side. You just have Stick with it, trust the predictions, and keep the ball low.
“Hopefully the greens aren’t too hard so we don’t have to hit balls that high.”