Kiwi golfers Ryan Fox and Danny Lee join big names in opening round struggle of PGA Championship

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1 NEWS | Associated Press

the story so far

  • PGA Championship Leaderboard Round 1.
  • T1. Thorbjorn Olesen -4.
  • T1. Kevin Kisner -4.
  • T3. Brooks Koepka -3.
  • T3. Grayson Murray -3.
  • T3. Gary Woodland -3.
  • Notable Players.
  • T34. Rory McIlroy +1.
  • T34. Jordan Spieth +1.
  • T80. Sergio Garcia +4.
  • T80. Ryan Fox +4.
  • T95. Danny Lee +5.
  • T127. Phil Mickelson +8.
  • T138. Ernie Els +9.

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 4-under 67 and a shared one-shot lead among early starters in a PGA Championship that was making it hard for Jordan Spieth and just about everyone else at Quail Hollow.

Not since 2010 at Whistling Straits has a score as high as 67 led the opening round of the PGA Championship.

Spieth was happy to get through with a 72 in his quest to become the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam. US Open champion Brooks Koepka fared much better with a 68 and was among those one shot behind.

But even Koepka had a hard time making putts on new Bermuda greens that were firm and so fast that players had to be defensive.

"Anything under par on this golf course is a good score," Olesen said.

Koepka had birdie putts inside 15 feet on his opening six holes and converted only one of them. He wasn't the only player struggling to make them.

"If they get about a foot faster, they are kind of unplayable with the pin placements," Koepka said.

"These slopes are just getting bigger and bigger with the speed of the greens and the grain. If you miss it just by a couple feet from the flag, you can hit a great shot in there and wind up 30 yards away."

It showed on the leaderboard.

No one managed to post anything better than 67, and Olesen needed a long putt on the 18th hole for that.

Kiwi golfers Ryan Fox and Danny Lee are sitting tied at 80th and 95th respectively.

Fox appeared to be set for a strong opening round after carving out two birdies on the back nine to start his day, but his form quickly abandoned him as he picked up four bogeys and a double bogey on the front nine.

The Kiwis weren't the only ones struggling though.

Sergio Garcia took a pair of double bogeys at the end of the back nine and wound up with a 75. Ernie Els, in what might be his last PGA Championship, shot 80 for only the second time in this major. The first time was at Bellerive in 1992.

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