Advertisement

Rory McIlroy seizes early lead after first round at PGA Championship

1/10
Rory McIlroy seizes early lead after first round at PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy plays the ninth hole in the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) -- Searching for his first win at a major golf tournament in eight years, Rory McIlroy grabbed an early one-shot lead after the first round of the 2022 PGA Championship on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

McIlroy carded seven birdies that carried him to a 5-under 65 in the opening round of the tournament. It was his lowest start to par in a major since a 6-under 66 when he won the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in 2014, the last of his four majors.

Advertisement

"I think when your game is feeling like that, it's just a matter of going out there and really sticking to your game plan, executing as well as you possibly can and just sort of staying in your own little world," McIlroy said.

"I feel like this course, it lets you be pretty aggressive off the tee if you want to be, so I hit quite a lot of drivers out there and took advantage of my length and finished that off with some nice iron play and some nice putting."

RELATED PGA Championship 2022: Rahm, Scheffler favorites for golf's second major

Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge each opened with a 4-under 66 to share second after the first day of play. Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar and Abraham Ancer all were another shot behind at 3-under 67.

Advertisement

Xander Schauffele and Cameron Smith were among the nine players who were at 2-under par and tied for seventh.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, had his worst start to the PGA Championship since 2015. Two bogeys at the end of his opening round gave him a 74, leaving him in a tie for 99th and on the cusp of missing the cut.

RELATED Bryson DeChambeau withdraws from 2022 PGA Championship

Woods, who is still recovering from a car crash 15 months ago that left him with serious leg injuries, started on the back nine and began the round with two birdies over his first five holes, including one on the par-3 14th.

On the par-4 15th, however, the 15-time major winner began to fade, partly due to a right leg he said felt worse than it did at last month's Masters. He bogeyed the 15th and 18th before making the turn and bogeying the first and second holes.

Woods managed to card a birdie on the par-4 third before bogeying the ensuing fourth hole. He ended his day with bogeys on the eighth and ninth.

RELATED Defending champion Phil Mickelson withdraws from PGA Championship

"I just can't load it," Woods said of his right leg, which was badly injured in the February 2021 crash. "Loading hurts, pressing off it hurts, and walking hurts, and twisting hurts. It's just golf. I don't play that, if I don't do that, then I'm all right."

Advertisement

After the first day, just 26 players from the 156-player field broke par -- only nine of them in the afternoon. McIlroy will face a late start in Friday's second round, which is set to begin at 8 a.m. EDT.

Justin Thomas wins the PGA Championship

Justin Thomas poses with the trophy after winning the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., on Sunday. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement