Sensational eagle for Will Zalatoris at the par-four 6th! He sends his high-flying second over the flag from 120 yards, landing it 20 feet behind the hole and spinning it back into the cup! This guy really does make things happen. Never mind that second place at Augusta on debut. What about his hole in one on 7 at Winged Foot during last year’s US Open, a feat he nearly repeated six holes later during the same round, the flagstick denying him a unique slice of history?! Wow. Anyway, that’s wiped out the deficit of bogeys at 2 and 4, and he’s level par again.
Branden Grace joins the leaders at -3 with back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16. Conners, from an impossible lie on the woodchip at 9, heads the other way, squirting his ball straight left. Two putts from distance, and that’s a bogey five. He’s -2.
Rubbish elsewhere: DJ’s chip from the back of 4 only just stays on the green; he’ll have a 20-footer to limit the damage to bogey. Spieth can’t get up and down from the sand at 5, so he’s back to level par. And on 9, Connors overclubs, his approach falling off the back of the green and into a pile of bark.
On 18, Sebastian Munoz hooks his tee shot towards the hospitality boxes. The ball takes a bounce off the picket fence along the front and into a nearby bin. For obvious reasons, the crowd are delighted with this apt turn of events. “Do I have to get it?!” he asks a referee, clearly not enamoured with the prospect of fishing through the trash. Yes, comes the answer. He gets a little help from someone who manipulates the binbag from below, gingerly plucks it from the top, and quickly offloads it to a nearby fan, who is delighted with her rubbish souvenir.
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A fine up-and-down from sand by Jordan Spieth at 4. That saves his par, but he’ll need more of it at 5, pulling a 7-iron into another waste area. “That is not going to help me at all,” he deadpans, with some understatement. Also in some bother: Dustin Johnson, who pulls his drive at 4 into a hazard, takes his drop, and whistles his third over the back of the green into the second cut. The Ocean Course continues to bare its teeth.
Shane Lowry rolls a 25-footer across 3 and into the cup. He’s -1. A three-putt bogey for Carlos Ortiz on 15, and he drops out of a share to -2. And an eagle for Jason Day at 7; that was much needed, coming after bogeys at 1, 4 and 6. Life suddenly doesn’t look so bad for the 2015 champion, who bounces back to +1.
A third birdie of the afternoon for the in-form Corey Conners. This one comes at the par-five 7th, having very nearly rolled in from the front apron for eagle. He joins the leading pack … as does Carlos Ortiz, who makes it three birdies in a row at 13.
-3: Bradley (F), Hovland (F), Koepka (F), Wise (F), Conners (7), Ortiz (5*)
-2: Tringale (F), Laird (F), Morikawa (F), Horsfield (7*), Grace (6*), Im (4*), Cantlay (2)
Patrick Cantlay has missed the cut at his last four tournaments. So he’ll be more than pleased with this start. He’s just holed out from 141 yards on the par-five 2nd for eagle! That was arrowed straight at the flag, the ball pitching five feet away, taking a couple of soft bounces, then rolling obediently into the cup! He’s -2.
Birdie for Sergio at 2. He finds the dancefloor in two swipes, the second a glorious fairway wood. The eagle putt’s never quite dropping, but he’ll happily tap in to move to -1. Also carding his first birdie of the week: Jordan Spieth at 3. And here’s a young Englishman coming through: Sam Horsfield, who is -2 after birdies at 14 and now 16, a fine start to his PGA debut.
Aaron Wise is an inch away from stroking in a birdie effort on 9. But his ball stops just short, and he’ll make do with a very fine opening 69, which gives him a share of the lead. It’s not been such a good day for another much-fancied 24-year-old American, though: Sam Burns, who won his first Tour title earlier this month at the Valspar, has suffered a shocking start to his championship: a double at 2, a triple at 5, and another bogey at 6. Birdies at 3 and 7 illustrate his moxie, but one of this week’s dark horses is already floundering at +4.
Will Zalatoris, having escaped with par on 1 after slicing his drive, shoves his approach at 2 right as well. He can’t find his ball, is forced to take a drop, then sees his fourth topple back down the bank at the side of the green. He nearly chips in, but the flagstick has other ideas and it’s a bogey six. He’s +1. Jordan Spieth meanwhile makes it two opening pars.
Kim Si-woo follows birdie at 11 with another at 16. The 2017 Players champ joins the group at -2, now bereft of Carlos Ortiz, who steers a lovely approach into the water-lined 13th to ten feet, then knocks in his third birdie putt in a row. He joins the leaders at -3.
Carlos Ortiz has done nothing of note in the majors – a tie for 52nd at the 2019 US Open is all he’s managed to date – but the 30-year-old from Guadalajara has been enjoying a decent season. He won the Houston Open last November, his first victory on Tour, and the first by a Mexican for 42 years. Now, maybe, it’s time to finally make a mark in one of the big ones? Birdies at 11 and 12 have him just off the lead at -2.
Corey Conners is coming off the back of a couple of excellent performances at Augusta: a tie for tenth back in November, a tie for eighth last month. The 29-year-old Canadian continues his major-championship form here, with birdies at 2 and 5. He joins the group at -2, while Aaron Wise, the 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, makes good on that promise with his fourth birdie in seven holes, the latest at 7. The 24-year-old – born in South Africa but raised from a young age in California – takes a share of the lead at -3.
-3: Bradley (F), Hovland (F), Koepka (F), Wise (16*)
-2: Tringale (F), Laird (F), Morikawa (F), Conners (5), Grace (3*), Ortiz (3*)
Dustin does reasonably well to bump his ball back up onto the green, though he’s left with a 20-footer for his par. He can’t make it, the ball always breaking to the right. Bogey to start. Lowry meanwhile lashes into the heart of the green from the semi-rough; two putts later and that’s a nerve-settling opening par. Four for Sergio as well.
DJ gets away with that drive, his ball snagging in the sandy waste area down the right of 1. He takes absolutely no advantage of his lucky break, though. The ball’s sitting up nicely, but he thins his wedge, sending his ball skittering at warp speed through the green and past several members of the gallery, somehow avoiding everyone and ending miles past the green on a scruffy patch of waste ground. Not the ideal start from the world number one.
Will Zalatoris somehow scrambles his par on 1, draining a 30-footer and walking off with a cheeky grin. He knows full well he’s got away with that wild drive, and it’s the sort of save that will feel like a fast-start birdie. Meanwhile this is an actual fast start: birdies at 11 and 12 for Branden ‘Mr 62’ Grace. He’s -2 in double-quick time.
Can a reigning Open champion be a dark horse? You decide, though Shane Lowry comes into the week as the curveball selection of many an observer, on account of all that links expertise and sensational short game. His opening drive at 1 sneaks into the thick rough. He’s going round with Sergio and Dustin Johnson, the latter hoicking his tee shot perilously close to watery trouble on the right.
The Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama pars the 9th to sign for a 73. He’s +1. But an irritating finish for the defending champ Collin Morikawa, who misses a short par putt and slips back to -2. He’s signing for a 70.
-3: Bradley (F), Hovland (F), Koepka (F)
-2: Tringale (F), Laird (F), Morikawa (F), Lewis (17), Wise (15*)
Collin Morikawa reacts to his late miss. Photograph: David J Phillip/AP
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Jordan Spieth shouts after his approach into 1 with disgust. High standards, because that’s straight at the flag, 15 feet short. Meanwhile up on 9, par for Bryson DeChambeau, who has salvaged a round threatening to go south, signing for a level-par 72.
Big thanks to Niall. Now then, who’s turn is it to flay their opening drive into thick oomska this time? It’s Will Zalatoris, fresh off his second place at the Masters. His tee shot at 1 has ended up deep in the trees down the right, nearly clocking some poor guy in a cart and nestling on some woodchips. He’ll do well to save his par from that tight spot. Meanwhile career-slam chasing Jordan Spieth splits the fairway.
Keegan Bradley rescues par at the 18th, while Koepka completes his three-under round. Those two join Viktor Hovland as joint clubhouse leaders, with Morikawa looking to join or better them as he finishes on the par-four ninth.
Time to hand back to Scott Murray, who will guide you through the rest of the day’s action. Here’s the leaderboard:
-3: Bradley (F), Koepka (F), Hovland (F), Morikawa (17*)
-2: Tringale (F), Laird (F), Lewis (17), Wise (15*)
Keegan Bradley chips to the 18th green. Photograph: Matt York/AP
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Keegan Bradley tees off at the 18th, looking to join the Norwegian as clubhouse leader. Instead, his wayward drive almost lands in the clubhouse, landing deep in the rough close to concerned patrons in a hospitality tent.
Morikawa tidies up his birdie, and joins the leading group. Another 2020 major winner, Bryson DeChambeau, continues his up-and-down day with a spectacular long birdie putt. He’s level-par with one to play.
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The defending champion, Collin Morikawa, plays a belting tee shot at the eighth that curls neatly in towards the pin. A big chance for birdie, and a share of the lead. At the ninth, Hovland makes par and signs for a three-under-par 69. He’s the new clubhouse leader!
Unlucky for Martin Laird, who plays a nice chip-and-run onto the final green, then sees his par putt lip out. He’ll take the clubhouse lead, but will feel a touch disappointed with a bogey-bogey finish. Bradley, Koepka and Hovland the three joint-leaders now.
Brooks Koepka began with a double bogey; now he has a share of the lead! His eagle effort on the seventh comes up short, but he tidies up to go three under. He’s quickly joined by Viktor Hovland, who drains a downhill birdie putt on the eighth. We have a four-way tie at the top!
-3: Laird (17), Bradley (16), Koepka (15*), Hovland (16*)
-2: Tringale (F), Stenson (15), Cink (15), Lewis (14), Morikawa (15*)
Cameron Tringale is still the clubhouse leader, enjoying a rare good day at the US PGA. The Californian’s highest finish in this particular major is 72nd and he has been disqualified twice, including last year, when he made an error on his scorecard. He’ll have been double checking every pencil mark after today’s two-under-par error.
Rory McIlroy pulls a shot back with a birdie on the sixth, then immediately lands his tee shot in the filth. A decent follow-up onto the fairway gives him a chance of escaping the par-five without dropping any more shots. He’s on two-over.
Some big names are getting under way in the next 30 minutes or so. Tony Finau is off shortly, with Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day at 1.14pm local (6.14pm BST). Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose can all be found in the following two groups. It’s heating up nicely.
Paul Casey, who has posted a one-under 71 for the first round, is unequivocal about the challenge Kiawah Island poses. “It’s one of the toughest courses I’ve ever played,” he tells Sky. Nobody is playing it better than Martin Laird just now, although he drops a shot at the 17th to drop into a share of the lead with Keegan Bradley. It could have been worse, Laird pulling off a fine recovery shot after a wayward drive.
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A three-putt bogey for Tom Lewis at the par-three 14th … and a fine opportunity to post the latest leaderboard, and hand over the reins to Niall McVeigh, who will be your guide for the next hour. See you again soon.
-4: Laird (16)
-3: Bradley (15)
-2: Tringale (F), Stenson (15), Hovland (15*), Cink (14), Koepka (14*), Lewis (14), Morikawa (13*), Marek (12)
Brooks Koepka has found his range now. In goes a 15-footer at 5, and it’s back-to-back birdies that bring him up to -2. The pre-tournament favourite is heading in the wrong direction, though: a three-putt bogey for Rory McIlroy, and he’s +3. News meanwhile of Stewart Cink: the 2009 Open champion is in the middle of a late-career renaissance, the 47-year-old from Alabama having won twice on Tour this season already. After a slow start today, he’s birdied 7, 8 and now 14, and he’s in very good nick at -2. What a story it would be if the veteran could complete the fairytale by becoming the second-oldest major winner in history (behind Julius Boros, who won the PGA as a 48-year-old in 1968). We’re still not totally forgiving him for denying Tom Watson, of course, but he’ll be able to live with that, I’m sure.
Martin Laird takes sole ownership of the lead with his fourth birdie in a row! This one is the result of a long rake across 16. Just as well that his putt hit the hole, because it was travelling some. Meanwhile Rickie Fowler and Tyrrel Hatton reach the clubhouse in 71 strokes, though the early clubhouse leader is Cameron Tringale, out first this morning at 7am, and returning with a 70.
-4: Laird (16)
-3: Bradley (14), Lewis (13)
-2: Tringale (F), Dufner (16), Stenson (15), Hovland (14*), Cink (14), Morikawa (12*), Marek (12)
The elaborately hatted Brad Marek rolls in a 30-footer on 11. Already with eagle at 7 on his card, the 37-year-old teaching professional is doing the best of the PGA Team of 20 “club pros” who have made it through to the big one. He’s -2.
Brooks Koepka rattles a 25-footer across 4 and into the cup for birdie. He’s been battling hard ever since that double-bogey start, and now he’s in red figures at -1. A slightly miserable end to Paul Casey’s round, though; he follows up bogey at 8 with another at 9, and signs for a one-under 71. Plenty would take that, but it could have been so much better.
The green at 3 is like the bonnet of a VW Beetle. Morikawa, chipping from the left, can’t hold it, his ball toppling back off the front. He’s playing alongside Matsuyama, who lobs up from the other side, only to watch in horror as his ball stalls on the top of the bank and rolls back down to his feet. Morikawa bogeys; Matsuyama runs up a double-bogey six, and they’re now -2 and +2 respectively. DeChambeau, the third member of the group, bumps up from the rough, but can’t make the ten footer he leaves himself for par and slips back to +2.
Three big putts shave the hole and refuse to drop. Keegan Bradley’s par effort at 13, Tom Lewis’s birdie chance from 30 feet at 12, and Paul Casey’s ten-footer for par on 8. Martin Laird’s birdie putt at 15 drops, though, and the 38-year-old Glaswegian, who won his first PGA Tour title in seven years at the Shriners last October, grabs a share of the lead.
-3: Laird (15), Bradley (13), Lewis (12), Morikawa (11*)
Par for McIlroy at 3, snapping a bogey-bogey run that has seen him slip to +2. Behind him, a birdie for Morikawa, and the defending champ is just a shot off the lead.
-4: Bradley (12)
-3: Casey (16*), Stenson (13), Lewis (11), Morikawa (11*)
Paul Casey also came close last year, of course, and here he is once again, looking for that elusive major title. Birdie at 7, and he’s just a shot off Keegan Bradley’s lead at -3. Alongside him, another Englishman in Tom Lewis, who has birdied 7, 8 and now 11. Lewis is still mainly remembered for his opening round of 65 at the 2011 Open as a 20-year-old amateur. Is that about to change?
Cameron Champ was in the penultimate group last year at Harding Park, watching Collin Morikawa shoot 65 en route to his first major. Champ shot 70 himself, slipping from a tie for second to a tie for tenth. The 25-year-old Californian won’t be in the thick of it this time, though. A double bogey start at 10 has proved a sign of things to come: after turning in 38, two over, he’s since tripled the par-five 2nd and doubled the par-three 5th, and now finds himself at +8, with only the 55-year-old John Daly (+9) below him in the standings. Champ is one of the biggest hitters on Tour, and right now an illustration that length alone, even on the longest course in major-championship history, guarantees nothing.
Poor old Rickie Fowler hasn’t had much luck of late, slipping down to 128 in the world rankings. So often the bridesmaid at the majors, he started well today, with birdies at 11 and 14, but he’s just followed bogey at 4 with another at 6. He came very close to chipping in for birdie, only to see his subsequent par putt lip out. He’s back to level par, though this still stands as a better-than-expected performance from the woefully short-on-confidence Californian. Here’s hoping he hangs in there, because his moustache, perhaps golf’s suavest since the days of Lloyd Mangrum, deserves a wider audience.
A big chance for Keegan Bradley to extend his lead to two. A couple of fine shots into 12, setting up a ten footer for birdie. However he doesn’t hit the putt, which is always breaking right. He remains at -4.
Keegan Bradley has made a strong start. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/Getty Images
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Erik Van Rooyen had been going well, after that early eagle-birdie burst. But he’s shipped one of those shots at 18, unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker. In fact he did well to limit the damage to bogey, having raced an excitable par putt five feet past the hole. He’s -2.
It’s like 2016 all over again, as Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson take turns to trundle in long birdie putts on 12. That year’s Masters champion moves to -2; its Open winner a shot off at -3. Meanwhile Matt Jones can’t get up and down from the swale at 15, and there’s a fresh new look to the leaderboard:
-4: Bradley (11)
-3: Jones (15), Dufner (14), Stenson (12)
McIlroy can’t make his par. His putt lips out and he’s +1. It was a decent effort; the mistakes were made further down the hole. Koepka also bogeys to slip to +1. With Thomas parring to remain at +2, this star-studded group appear to be dragging each other down. But going the correct way: Keegan Bradley, who makes it to the front of 11 in two, nearly drains a long eagle effort, and tidies up for the birdie that gives him a share of the lead at -4. With Jones in a spot of bother, the 2011 winner could soon have sole ownership of the lead.
A spot of trouble for the leader Matt Jones down the right of 15. On the top of a thickly covered mound, he can only bump his third to the bottom of a swale to the side of the green. Also struggling to save his par: Rory McIlroy, who pulls his tee shot wide left at 1, comes up short from the thick stuff, then lobs a fairly average third to 12 feet. That one only just stayed on the putting surface, for a second looking as though it might keep going and topple off the back. But there’s still hope.
The defending champ Collin Morikawa sends a tramliner straight into the cup at 18. He’s been a bit up and down so far, and yet he’s turning in 34 shots. He’s -2. Meanwhile another birdie for Jason Dufner, this time at 13, and the 2013 champ is a shot off Jones’s lead at -3!
A wayward drive down the right of 15 by Cameron Tringale. He’s forced to take a drop from an unplayable lie, but whips a 5-wood off a dusty track to 60 feet. He limits the damage to bogey, but drops out of second place; he’s -2.
Thomas does exceptionally well to get up and down for a double-bogey six. A lovely little chip that grips then releases to a couple of feet. He’s +2. Pars for Koepka and McIlroy, who both complete the back nine in level-par 36.
Some big bother for Justin Thomas on the 505-yard par-four 18th. He finds a deep fairway bunker with his drive, then slams his sand shot into the face of the bunker, the ball ballooning into some thick nonsense. He can only hack out into shorter rough, and leaves his fourth shot well short of the green. This is the world number two. A gusty Kiawah Island, ladies and gentlemen. With the wind expected to pick up some more as the day goes on, it could be quite the afternoon.
Here are three other ways to play the spine-chilling 17th. Collin Morikawa sends a high fade into the heart of the green, taking two putts for par. Hideki Matsuyama uses the shoulder of the bunker to the back left of the green to gather his ball to ten feet. He’s one joule of energy short of making the birdie putt, which died to the right at the very last, one dimple away. Finally Bryson DeChambeau takes a 5-iron – remember some folk have been unsheathing the driver – and arrows to four feet! But he can’t make the birdie putt either. Huge disappointment all round after three exceptional, but varied, tee shots. Still, Bryson has snapped a run of four straight bogeys. He remains at +2. Morikawa and Matsuyama are -1 and level par respectively.
Matt Jones takes sole ownership of the lead, taking a brave line into 13 with the water on the right, and curling in a 12-footer for birdie. The 2011 champ Keegan Bradley is hot on his tail, though, raking a long one across 9. And Paul Casey continues nicely along, responding to a dropped shot at the difficult 18th with birdie at 2.
-4: Jones (13)
-3: Tringale (13), Bradley (9), Van Rooyen (6*)
-2: Long (13), Casey (12*), Dahmen (12), Fowler (11*), Dufner (11), Z Johnson (9*), Stenson (9), Hovland (8*), Lewis (7), Samooja (5*)
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