Tiger Woods is only three weeks removed from a thrilling performance at the British Open. He will be joined by two other PGA Tour stars: Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. Thomas is the defending champion this week and will look to capture his second major title and second-straight win at Bellerive. McIlroy will look to get back in the major winner’s circle and put a third Wanamaker trophy on his shelf.
Tiger hits a lovely shot from the bunker to give himself about six feet for par. JT is not happy with his chip but he only has maybe 8-10 feet to convert for his par. 178 left for Rory and he’s safely on the green pin high but not super close. Before him Tiger hit low shot from the left rough that ended up in the front right greenside bunker.
Charl Schwartzel misses his chance at 62…but he makes a 4-footer for 63 which is a record folks. 63s don’t come around often…but they are today. Rickie Fowler tees off five shots back. Scoring conditions are RIPE today. Course average is under par.
Tiger will have some 25 feet left to finish out his round at No. 9. Tiger finds the fairway at No. 9; not so much for his playing partners who spray it left and right. For the first time since he teed off Woods is at even par. How will he finish?
Kyle Stanley is the only player on the course at -3 after a birdie at 1. DJ fails to make it four in a row at 9. He taps in for par to remain three shots behind Fowler at -2.
I’m surprised by the variety of big and short hitters at the top. DJ Rickie Woodland Day … and ZJ Gay and Kisner? Looks like Bellerive is more than a bomb-and-gouge setup which is what you want at a major.
Koepka birdies the par-5 8th and he’s now eight under total and in third. Stone is in with a 68 but he’s six under for the week and T5. Kuchar finishes one over for the week and likely to miss the cut. Bubba Watson shoots 78 and will absolutely miss the cut.
Lots of waiting for the green to clear before JT swings away from over 300 yards out. He comes up short and left but draws a good lie at the edge of the fairway setting up a tricky chip.
Welp no birdie conversions for our trio so we move on to No. 14. Hey watch out — British Open champ Francesco Molinari is having a nice start today. He’s two under through four holes to get to -4 — only three shots back of the lead.
So far only two players in the afternoon wave are taking advantage of the good conditions: Jason Dufner and Y.E. Yang. Both are -2 through 3. Both are former PGA Champions.
Who has that afternoon charge in them? Jason Day begins his afternoon with a par on the first. He’s in a good spot at three under. Tricky thing about the afternoon times is that these soft greens tend to get a bit stomped down by players throughout the day. Greens might not roll as true as players hope.
Justin Rose makes a birdie at 2 he’s back to even. Spieth (+2) has to settle for par. DJ fails to birdie 5 and will remain at +1. In case you missed Tiger’s round you can read all about it here: Spieth hits a decent approach at 2. He’ll have a shot to get back one of those he lost on at the 1st.