The season’s final major is officially underway, and the leaderboard at Valhalla is already chock full of red figures. Here’s how things look after the first round of the PGA Championship, where three players share the lead:
Leaderboard: Lee Westwood (-6), Kevin Chappell (-6), Ryan Palmer (-6), Rory McIlroy (-5), Henrik Stenson (-5), Jim Furyk (-5), Edoardo Molinari (-5), Chris Wood (-5)
What it means: Conditions were ideal during the opening round at Valhalla and players thrived as a result, with nearly a third of the field breaking par. The trio at the top is highlighted by Westwood, whose 0-for-66 drought in the majors is the longest such streak of any active player still in search of his first major win.
Round of the day: Westwood missed the cut in each of the last two majors, but the Englishman appears ready to extend his hotel reservation through the weekend after a 6-under 65 that included nine birdies. The score tied Westwood’s lowest career round in a major, and he finished with five birdies across a six-hole stretch from Nos. 4-9.
Best of the rest: Chappell is still in search of his first PGA Tour win, but the UCLA product took a big step toward contending this week with a bogey-free 65 in the opening round. Chappell birdied two of his first four holes, then added three more on a five-hole run from Nos. 9-13 en route to carding his lowest round since the Crowne Plaza Invitational in May.
Biggest disappointment: Tiger Woods nearly didn’t tee it up this week after another back injury, but following a 3-over 74 it appears his stay in Louisville could be a brief one. Woods made only one birdie all day, a chip-in at No. 16, and hit only 10 of 18 greens in regulation. He trails the co-leaders by nine shots and will need a sub-par effort in Round 2 to have any chance of making the cut.
Main storyline heading into Friday: While the three co-leaders combine for zero majors, one notable major champion chasing them is McIlroy. The new world No. 1 endured a double bogey-bogey stretch in the middle of his round and still carded a 5-under 66 to sit just one shot off the pace as he looks to win his third event in a row.
Quote of the day: “It wasn’t very good. A lot of bad shots, and I never got a putt to the hole.” – Woods