Dustin Johnson is currently even through his first hole today so he remains at -3 — three shots back of leader Gary Woodland. Good morning! Jess Marksbury here. It’s a lovely sunny day in St. Louis and I’m looking forward to following the early action at Bellerive.
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?
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.
Tiger tossed in a great approach into the 2nd green and cashed the 14-foot birdie putt. 1 under for the week. This is Ben Kern. Need him on the weekend. Also Tony Finau promptly triple bogeyed the 6th hole.
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.
Justin Rose hits a good bunker shot to give himself a decent look at birdie from the fringe but he ends up settling for par. Rahm also misses his birdie attempt. Spieth gave it a nice run but alas must also settle for par. On to No. 13.
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!
Bubba Watson has reached -2 early as well: Look out Dustin Johnson is making a run. He birdies 8 to move to -2. That’s three birdies in a row for the top-ranked player.
Brooks Koepka is on fire. Makes the turn in three under on the day and then birdies three straight to begin his second nine (the front) and is now seven under and in solo second. Woodland and Kisner both still tied at nine under through 11 holes.
“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?
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.
Best quote from Tiger’s post-round presser? “I just sweat a lot.” He changed shirts after just the second hole. To be fair we’re in Missouri in August. Everyone’s sweating a lot. But I haven’t seen many others employing the two-shirt method. More on that here!