Gary Woodland is your leader after one round of the PGA Championship. Senior Woodland got off to a rocky start but made 7 birdies over his last 11 holes and shot to the top of the leaderboard.
Woodland was fairly pedestrian off the tees and fairways but led the field with 4.4 strokes gained putting. Woodland made 152’ of putts in round one, the most of his career.
He got off to a hot start this year with a few top 10s in the winter and a victory at TPC Scottsdale. His recent play hasn’t been anything to write home about, but he seems to have brought his game to St. Louis.
The Man in Yellow
Going off his Puma scripting, Rickie Fowler honored Jarrod Lyle with a yellow shirt and fired a first-round 65. Rickie is famously majorless but had a phenomenal day at Bellerive. He was 72nd in strokes gained putting and finds himself one stroke off the lead. Putts will start to fall for Rickie and if he keeps his wits about him, this may be his week.
After Gary and Rickie, there were fourteen players who shot 66 or 67 on Thursday. Brandon Stone and Zach Johnson led the way at -4 but Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Jason Day, Justin Rose, Ollie Schniederjans, and Kevin Kisner are all amongst the group at -3. The golf course may be uninspiring, but the leaderboard is shaping up for a fun weekend.
Other Thursday Notes
Are we sure this is a major championship? I hate to beat a dead horse, but the energy on the golf course right now feels like a Saturday morning pickup basketball game.
Tiger looked like he was about to walk off the golf course after two holes. His shirt was unplayable after a few holes, and he had to change into a fresh tarp for the remainder of the round. He grinded to an even-par 70 and looks like he might be able to turn a corner as we head into the weekend.
Brooks Koepka led the field in strokes gained off the tee but struggled just about everywhere else. He grinded his way to a 69 (-1) and brought himself right back into the tournament. He is seeking his third major championship to go along with one PGA Tour win.
Joaquin Niemann continues to impress. The 19-year-old Chilean shot an opening-round 68 and finds himself just four shots off the lead. Niemann already has his 2019 PGA Tour card locked up and is ready to compete on a weekend.
My name is Will Knights, and I have doubts about Jon Rahm in majors. He is such a mental headcase, and it seems as though he has the ability to beat himself. Obviously he is one of the best players on the planet, but I need to see him work through a full week without any incidents before I believe he is going to capture a major. He is only four shots behind the leaders, but I have little faith in him making a charge this weekend. (He’ll probably win)
Playing alongside Tiger, Rory and Justin Thomas settled for mediocre rounds of 70 and 69 respectively. They were also 108th and 110th in strokes gained putting, so it is very likely that they will have better rounds on Friday.
Webb Simpson got off to a strong start with a 2-under-par 68. He’s being mentioned because he holds onto the final automatic spot in the Ryder Cup rankings. The PGA is the final tournament in the qualifying period, and Webb’s play coupled with a potential ZJ run could lead to a team that brings back shades of 2014.
Pat Perez broke down the strategy of Bellerive in his post-round.
Yadier Molina is overrated, St. Louis C.C. is underrated.
I left the sauna of St. Louis Wednesday thirsting for some hydration. I arrived home only to be disappointed that Mrs. Fried Egg had drank all of our Greater Than while I was out of town. It’s that good. Get some of your own using this link and enjoy 20% off your first purchase.
Jarrod Lyle passed away on Tuesday night after his third battle with leukemia. In his 36 years, Jarrod made an impact on everyone he interacted with. His personality, spirit and generosity were second to none on the PGA Tour, and he will be missed. Ryan Lavner wrote a great piece about Jarrod that really depicts who he was as a person.
If you feel so inclined, Tripp Isenhour started a GoFundMe to raise money for Jarrod’s family. You can donate HERE.
Tom Fleetwood (not the one you know) got a surprise deposit in his bank account this week. Story
Shoutout to our friend Vince India for winning the Illinois Open! He becomes one of only a few men to ever win the Illinois Amateur and Illinois Open.
Oklahoma St. Cowboy Zach Bauchou won the Canadian Amateur for the second year in a row. Leaderboard
The first round of the Web.com Tour is in the books in California. Adam Long and Seth Reeves are in the lead, and Steph Curry shot 71 in the opening round. Leaderboard
The Western Amateur is the most grueling tournament in golf. Hammer and Riley each played 144 holes of competitive golf in five days, oh to be young. A great way to feel young is by staying hydrated. The best way to do so is with Greater Than Sports Drink. It has 2x the electrolytes and ½ the sugars of popular sports drinks thanks to its coconut water recipe. Try out Greater Than and get 20% off your first order, or grab one of their convenient trial packs using this link.
Get started on your PGA Championship preparation with Andy’s article on longshots he likes this week.
Andrew Putnam won the Barracuda Championship in Reno this week. Leaderboard
Sepp Straka collected his first Web.com Tour victory in Kansas City. Leaderboard