Duval shot a 4-under-par 66 to earn a share of the early clubhouse lead in the 83rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Duval is just one of many who opened in 66; the morning list includes Niclas Fasth, Brad Faxon, Stuart Appleby, Fred Funk, Dudley Hart, John Huston and David Toms.
I havent felt this good about my golf and with my confidence in a long, long time, Duval said.
Faxon, currently 13th in Ryder Cup points, is looking for a repeat performance from 1995. Six years ago, Faxon shot 63 in the final round of the PGA Championship to earn a berth on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
This is the final event for American players to qualify for the team.
Not everyone was happy with their first round scores, none moreso than the two-time defending champion.
Tiger Woods recorded a pair of double bogeys en route to a 3-over-par 73.
Woods, this years Masters winner, played alongside Duval and U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen on Thursday. Goosen shot 1-under 69.
The major trio began the day at the par-4 10th. It marked the first time since 1977 that the PGA Championship used spilt tees. The PGA of America wanted to avoid the six-hour rounds experienced last year at Valhalla.
Duval started birdie-birdie-birdie. Tiger started bogey-par-birdie.
Woods day only got worse with a bogey at the par-4 14th and a double bogey at the par-3 15th. Tiger missed the green left at No. 15 and then pitched his second shot over the green and into the water.
After making the turn in 3-over 38, Tiger birdied the par-4 2nd, but once again made a double bogey at the par-4 3rd.
Tiger did manage to birdie the 5th and 7th holes; yet three-putted the par-4 9th (his 18th) for a bogey.
Duval, who went to college at nearby Georgia Tech, made five birdies and one bogey on the Highlands Course.
Ernie Els led the tournament by one shot at 5-under entering the 490-yard par-4 18th, but hit his second shot in the water and notched a double-bogey 6.
Els is seeking his first major triumph since winning the 1997 U.S. Open. The South African finished runner-up in three major championships a year ago. He also tied for third in this years British Open.
Full-field scores from the 83rd PGA Championship