Through one round at Quail Hollow, Thørbjorn Olesen and Kevin Kisner lead the PGA Championship. The pair fired four under 67s which put them one shot ahead of five players at three under par. Olesen got off to a slow start in 2017 but has been rounding into form notching three top ten finishes in his past seven starts. Meanwhile, Kisner has had a standout year, winning at Colonial and earning four other top tens.
One shot back at three under are Brooks Koepka, D.A. Points, Gary Woodland, Chris Stroud and Grayson Murray. Full scores
On the back of his brilliant ball striking, Brooks Koepka shined. The reigning U.S. Open champion has made 14 straight cuts at major championships. A win would would earn him a spot on a short and illustrious list of players with two major wins in a season.
The winner of this year's Puerto Rico Open and Pekin, Illinois native D.A. Points finds himself in the hunt at Quail Hollow. The former Illinois star is the oft forgotten third member of the 2012 Wells Fargo playoff between Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy. Fowler triumphed for his first PGA Tour win of his career.
Speaking of Rickie and Rory
The pair went off on Thursday afternoon and each had their ups and downs. Rickie Fowler blitzed the front nine with four birdies but had a costly triple bogey on the 5th. Despite the triple bogey, Fowler managed to shoot a two under 69, good for eighth place. Fowler will look to become the first major winner to card a triple bogey since Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA.
In his bid to win his first major since the 2014 PGA, Rory McIlroy was sharp. The star was two under through the 12th but undone by a costly double bogey on the drivable 14th. McIlroy finished the day at one over par, well within striking distance of the lead, five shots back.
The third member of the Rickie - Rory group is young gun Jon Rahm who fired a strong one under par 70. Rahm showcased why he ranks first on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: off the tee. Given the demanding nature of Quail Hollow off the tee, expect to see the 23-year-old hang around the weekend.
The other stars
A rare letdown
In his bid to become the youngest career Grand Slam winner, Jordan Spieth fired a one over par 72. Spieth’s struggles came from a rare source, his putter. Spieth's longest putt made was a very uncharacteristic 5'3.” He is only five shots off the pace but as Sean Martin pointed out:
A talented trio lurks
Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day all find themselves in the hunt after day one. The trio fired one under 70s to put themselves in a tie for 15th. Matsuyama will look to win his first career major while DJ and Day look for their second. The three tee off in today's afternoon wave and will be featured heavily in the telecast.
Despite it's corny name, Quail Hollow's "Green Mile" has lived up to its billing as a brutal closing stretch. On Thursday, the three-hole finish yielded 18 birdies to 181 bogeys or worse. Masters champion Sergio Garcia felt its wrath, playing the holes five-over, en route to an four over 75.
Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed opened with a strong two under par 69 good for a tie for eighth. Reed will look to earn his first career top ten in a major.
Thanks to a breakout season, Brian Harman is 12th in the President's Cup Standings. After an opening 69, Harman is in great position to move himself inside the top ten which guarantees a spot in the event.
Playing in their 100th career major championships, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els struggled. Lefty fired a 79 while the Big Easy hung an 80 on the board. Barring a miracle, the Hall of Famers will miss the cut.
Friend of the pod and accomplished amateur golfer Kyle Nathan joined the podcast. We answered questions which ranged from future PGA Championship sites to what to eat for a healthy breakfast. Give it a listen on our website,iTunes and Stitcher.
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