The 100th PGA teed off
Club pro-Michael Block hit the opening tee shot down the middle at Bellerive Country Club on Thursday. The course played long and soft because of the rain on Tuesday and temperatures in the 90s that required PGA officials to keep water on the greens.
Gary Woodland leads at Bellerive Day 1
Woodland made 152 feet of putts on Thursday, the first round of the PGA Championship. Gary Woodland is a usual suspect at PGA – he’s won the PGA Tour before, but has never contended in a major. His best finish was in 2011, with T12 – he is known to suffer from frustration from time to time, causing him to stress and mess up his game.
After his appearance on Thursday Woodland reflected; “It’s not the first time I’ve done that. But I just took a step back on 3 and realized I’ve been hitting it so good. Just take a second, take a deep breath and let’s go.”
What followed that bogey was cool, controlled golf, as he tends to do when he’s at his best. Woodland said he struck it “beautifully.” With more than 100 family and friends following him outside the ropes, the vibe was inspirational. He played the final 11 holes in 7 under, posted the best score of the day (64) and now holds an overnight lead at a major for the first time in his career. All of that just a few hours from where he grew up.
“The turf is very familiar to me,” Woodland said. “It’s so hot here during the summer, so the greens are soft and slow. You can be more aggressive, which suits my game.”It’s nice just to see the result. You work so hard and you want to see results to back up the work that you’ve done and today was just a step in the right direction.”
Sweat and struggle for Tiger Woods
It was more of a struggle for Tiger Woods, drenched in so much sweat that he changed shirts after 12 shots — that was only two holes and a tee shot. He had to make an 8-foot putt to escape with bogey on No. 10, and then dumped a wedge into the water for double bogey on No. 11. Woods was 3 over through seven holes, and then clawed his way back to even par for a 70.
“A lot of things could happen. Not a lot them were positive,” Woods said. “But I hung in there and turned it around.”
Jordan Spieth played catch-up
Jordan Spieth spent most of his day play catch-up after a double-bogey at the first, and his 1-over 71 in the opening round of the PGA Championship left him seven shots off the pace. Spieth arrived at Bellerive trying to complete the career grand slam, but he never seemed to get his round going. He fought back to even par after a birdie at the 15th, but a pair of wayward shots led to another bogey at the par-5 17th and a bitter taste in his mouth.
Spieth won’t have much time to figure out what went wrong. He goes off at 8:12 a.m. on Friday.
McIlroy sported some bandage-like patches
If you’re curious what those bandage-like patches were on Rory McIlroy as he ground his way to a first-round 70 at the PGA Championship, they are designed to deal with wrist and forearm inflammation.
McIlroy said he hit a lot of extra balls last week at Firestone, trying to work on a few things before arriving at Bellerive. He wound up with a bit of soreness in his right arm that accompanied him to St. Louis.
McIlroy says it hurts “the most when I’m chipping because I sort of hold the angle a bit,” but he doesn’t think it will affect him too much as the tournament progresses.
PGA Day 2 Times and Odds
Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy headline a loaded field at Bellerive. Find the full list of PGA odds here.
After a fun, crowded first round at the 2018 PGA Championship, Gary Woodland (-6) leads followed closely by Rickie Fowler (-5). Woodland will get started first on Friday as he goes early in the morning wave, while Fowler will wait until the afternoon to play. Even though those two are battling for the lead after 18 holes of play at Bellerive, they won’t be the main event in Round 2. That will be the Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy-Justin Thomas trio that shot a collective 1-under 209 on Thursday.