Justin Rose converts his first birdie of the day to get to -4 only two shots back of the lead. Rahm and Spieth miss and settle for pars. Our featured group meanwhile has three nice looks at birdie on No. 14. Gary Woodland just bogeyed No. 14 so there’s now a three-way tie for the lead at -6: Woodland Kisner and South Africa’s Brandon Stone.
The biggest surprise is just how few surprises there were! The leaderboard seems to be going according to plan. The top 7 players in the world are all under par in stark contrast to the superstar carnage at the U.S. and British Opens. The best players appear to be playing the best. Bring on the weekend!
“Distance is not so important here as you might think” Gary Player said after winning the 1965 U.S. Open at a 7200-yard Bellerive (the longest-ever U.S. Open at the time). Will that hold true this week?
A near miss for Rory’s birdie and Tiger follows suit coming up just short. JT also comes up short from the fringe and taps in for par. So ho-hum on No. 3 for our trio. No. 3 is playing 153 yards today. TW hits a safe shot to about pin high 20 feet from the cup. JT takes a more aggressive line and ends up just off the green on the fringe. And Rory hits a safe shot like Tiger also 20-25 feet from the hole.
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?
If Tiger is going to get back to even-par for the day this is where he’ll want to strike. Nice tee shot down the left side at the 610-yard par-5 8th. He hit that one 312…but he’s 25 yards behind Rory.
Gary Woodland makes it back-to-back birdies on 2 and 3 and he’s now the solo leader at 10 under. Four under through the day. Rose birdies the 2nd and he’s to four under now. Spieth and Rahm make pars on 2. Projected (early) cut is even par.
It will favor bombers and there a lot of those. Take your pick. Rahm. DJ. Justin Thomas. Rory. Within that subset take the guy with the hottest putter which is far more variable and harder to predict. I like Tony Finau because…what’s not to like?
Rory and JT go with irons off the tee with JT’s skirting past TW’s ball by about 20 yards. Tiger seems to be getting into a nice groove. Finds his third fairway in a row with the 3-wood off the tee on No. 2.
You can keep up with all the action on Thursday below. That’s all for us today folks. Join us tomorrow to follow the second round in another edition of the PGA Championship Live Blog.
Woods swinging two-iron at No. 7 and that’s nice and smooth right down the middle. JT joins him in the fairway. Up ahead Rickie Fowler moves to five-under with another birdie! He’s got a two-shot lead.
Our trio is now playing their second par 3 of the day the 224-yard 16th. All three find the green and will have nice looks at birdie. Adam Scott is putting a quietly excellent round together. He’s four under at the turn and only three shots behind Kisner.