US PGA: Gary Woodland leads from Rickie Fowler at Bellerive

Last Updated August 09 2018, 23:38Golf
Gary Woodland took the lead at Bellerive
Gary Woodland took the lead at Bellerive

Gary Woodland produced a remarkable late burst to take the lead after day one of the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club.

Leaders

-6 Gary Woodland

-5 Rickie Fowler

-4 Brandon Stone, Zach Johnson

Selected others: -3 Jason Day, Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose; -2 Jon Rahm, Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari; -1 Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka; E Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia; +1 Jordan Spieth; +2 Patrick Reed; +3 Phil Mickelson

Day one report

Gary Woodland produced a remarkable late burst to take the lead after day one of the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club.

Woodland was one-over and without a birdie through seven holes, but turned under-par after picking up shots at the eighth and ninth to go out in 34.

Five back-nine birdies from the 11th to the 17th saw the big-hitting Phoenix Open winner shoot 64 and post six-under, one lower than morning leader Rickie Fowler.

Seeking his first major title having been inside the top three in each of them, Fowler got off to an ideal start with six birdies and one bogey in a round of 65 which was the best of the morning wave by two shots.

Tiger Woods fought back from a nightmare start to shoot 70, a score matched by playing partner Rory McIlroy with Justin Thomas the pick of the marquee three-ball thanks to a one-under 69.

Woods bogeyed the 10th, his first, before finding water at the 11th and running up a double-bogey.

However, a brilliant approach to the 18th hole saw him begin to move back in the right direction as he clawed his way back to level par and within six of the overnight lead.

Woods was delighted to have turned his day around and remain in contention for a first victory since 2013, and first major in over a decade.

"It kept me in the golf tournament," he said. "It could easily have gone the other way but I hung in there and turned it around. I'm just happy to be within five [of the lead] right now.

"I just had to grind my way around this place. I tried to stay as patient as possible after I got off to a terrible start and tried to eat away at it. These are four long days; it's a marathon."

Rickie Fowler shows them the way
Rickie Fowler carded the best score of the morning

Fowler, who swapped his blue shirt in favour of a yellow alternative to pay respects to the passing of Jarrod Lyle, missed just two greens in a largely stress-free day.

The 29-year-old was second in the Masters in April and finished in the top five in all four majors in 2014, but has yet to claim one of golf's biggest prizes as he approaches his 30th birthday in December.

"I always have hope," Fowler said. "I know Phil (Mickelson) didn't win majors until his 30s, but it's not something I necessarily worry about.

"Keep putting ourselves in position, get in contention - we have had plenty of runner-ups, Jack (Nicklaus) had a lot of runner-ups, we'll just keep beating down that door.

"You can't force the issue and it relates to some of our game plan and how we're going about this week as far as just trying to play within ourselves and not do anything extra special. I don't have to play special to win."

World number one Dustin Johnson had joined Fowler midway through the back-nine of his first round only for two late bogeys to see him fall back to three-under, alongside Jason Day, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.

South Africa's Brandon Stone, a recent shock winner of the Scottish Open, shot a four-under 66 to move within two of the lead held by Woodland, the first time the American has ended a major round at the top of the leaderboard.

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