US PGA Championship day one: Koepka sets record with outstanding opener
Playing partner Tiger Woods suffered a rocky start on the notoriously difficult course.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka equalled the lowest round in tournament history to leave playing partner Tiger Woods trailing in his wake in the US PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park.
Koepka carded seven birdies in a flawless opening round of 63 to set a new course record on the fearsome Black Course where Woods was the only player to finish under par in winning the 2002 US Open.
Masters champion Woods had threatened to recover from a nightmare start when he eagled the fourth, his 13th hole of the day, to get under par for the first time, only to drop three shots in the next four holes and finish two over, nine behind Koepka.
New Zealand’s Danny Lee is a shot off the lead after compiling a superb 64 in the tougher afternoon conditions, with England’s Tommy Fleetwood three shots further back following 67.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Good job I wasn’t allowed to play in a buggy today else I’d have driven in at some point.— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) May 16, 2019
Eddie Pepperell makes reference to 1991 champion John Daly being allowed to use a cart due to injury after carding an opening 76, one shot more than Daly himself managed.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Danny Lee with possibly my favourite line of 2019 on the PGA Tour. On being outside the top 50 or 100 in the world: "It's not all fairytales and unicorns out here."— Evin Priest (@EvinPriest) May 16, 2019
World number 119 Danny Lee, who won on the European Tour as an 18-year-old amateur, reflects on the ups and downs of the professional game.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler were among the players to make a double bogey on the 10th hole, while Thomas Pieters started his round there with a seven. In contrast, American Max Homa made it look routine after an approach from 194 yards to five feet set up one of the seven birdies there all day.
ROUND OF THE DAY
Brooks Koepka was perhaps fortunate to hole from off the green for birdie on the 10th, his opening hole of the day, but there was very little luck involved in the six birdies which followed to give the three-time major winner a course record of 63.
STATISTIC OF THE DAY
Tiger is 9 behind Koepka after the 1st round. The only player in the last 100 years to win a major when 9+ back after the opening round was Jack Fleck at the 1955 U.S. Open.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) May 16, 2019
Former Golf Channel statistics guru Justin Ray points out the size of the task facing Tiger Woods (and Rory McIlroy) after day one.
Although the 10th garnered a lot of attention, the uphill par-four 15th played as the toughest hole, offering up just four birdies against 10 double bogeys and one triple bogey for a scoring average of 4.577
The par-five fourth played as the easiest hole with Tiger Woods carding one of the three eagles and 65 players making birdie for a scoring average of 4.628
ON THE UP
Brooks Koepka’s prospects of winning a fourth major title in his last eight starts after a brilliant 63.
ON THE SLIDE
The chances of Woods winning back-to-back major titles after an opening round of 72 left him nine shots off the lead.