ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Brooks Koepka looked like he was going to take command of the PGA Championship after he made three consecutive birdies early in Sunday’s final round. Instead, his hot start set the stage for a dramatic duel that lasted much of the final round at Oak Hill Country Club.
Koepka, who began Sunday with a one-shot lead, pulled three ahead with birdies on Nos. 2-4. The first two came on 4-footers after he knocked approach shots stiff, and the third was from just 9 feet.
It looked like the Koepka of old, the one who won four majors from 2017-19 and seemed invincible in the game’s biggest events. But he had to hold off a determined Viktor Hovland to win his fifth major and third PGA Championship.
It wasn’t until a three-shot swing on the 16th hole that Koepka’s victory at Oak Hill seemed certain. That put him four shots ahead with two holes remaining. Koepka went on to win by two, shooting a final-round 67 to finish at 9-under 271. Hovland finished second, as did Scottie Scheffler.
“This is probably the sweetest one of them all because all the hard work that went into this one, this one is definitely special,” said Koepka, who battled injuries between this victory and the 2019 PGA Championship.
Hovland’s double-bogey on 16 came after he drove into a fairway bunker, then failed to get his second shot out of the sand trap. Koepka made birdie on that hole.
Hovland hung tough throughout the day, however, even when Koepka made his early move.
Hovland also birdied the fourth hole, then picked up a shot on Koepka on each of the next two holes. The first came when Hovland made a 17-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fifth. Then he saved par from a bunker on the long, par-4 sixth while Koepka drove into the hazard and made bogey.
Hovland got up-and-down to save par on three of the front nine’s final four holes, displaying a short game that belied the standard scouting report for the Norwegian.
Hovland and Koepka each shot 34 on the front nine, allowing Koepka to keep his one-shot advantage. He started the back nine with two birdies and a bogey to take a two-shot lead but Hovland’s birdie at the par-5 13th put him back within one shot. Koepka had to make a 10-foot par putt on that hole just to maintain his lead.
After holing that 10-foot birdie putt at 13, Hovland made one from 8 feet to match Koepka’s birdie at the drivable 14th. Hovland was still just one back when they arrived at the 16th hole. Oak Hill became Koepka’s stage after that. He made amends for the Masters, where he lost a 54-hole lead to Jon Rahm.
“I just learned I knew what I did in Augusta. I spent the whole night thinking about it,” he said. “I knew what I did and I knew I was never going to come out and think that way again. Didn’t do that.”
Block party bonanza: Oh to be a fan on the par-3 15th green when Michael Block stood on the tee Sunday afternoon. Waiting to get a glimpse of the PGA professional who has taken the golf world by storm, fans were treated to Block’s latest moment of magic as the 46-year-old dunked a 7-iron from 151 yards out for a hole-in-one.
The improbability of the moment would seem unbelievable until you realize that nearly everything Block has accomplished this week has felt improbable. Block was the only club pro to make the cut at a difficult Oak Hill. He kept his composure after a shank on Friday afternoon and went off in the fourth-to-last group on Sunday alongside four-time major champion Rory McIlroy.
So when his ball flew straight into the cup for an ace on No. 15, it actually felt fitting. After the week Block has had, why not add an ace to it?
Jordan Spieth’s PGA pursuit continues: More than five hours before the final group walked up the 18th green, a man in desperate search of a PGA Championship victory was tapping in for his par.
As much as Jordan Spieth has accomplished in his career, a PGA Championship win eludes him. This week at Oak Hill was Spieth’s seventh attempt at completing the career grand slam – a feat he’s been trying to finish off since he won his fourth major, the 2017 Open Championship, at the age of 23.
This never felt like Spieth’s week, however. In the lead up to the tournament it was unknown whether he would even play after he withdrew from last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson with a wrist injury. Rehab replaced his preparation, leading to a relatively innocuous week. He shot 73-72 over the first two rounds to make the cut on the number, then played the weekend 71-69 to finish 5-over.
“It wasn’t really a wrist thing as much it was just a lack of preparation,” Spieth said of his play.
His next chance for the grand slam will come at Valhalla Golf Club next May. Only five golfers have completed the career grand slam.
Career-best finishes for trio of TOUR winners: Before this week, a look at the combined resumes of Sepp Straka, Cam Davis and Kurt Kitayama showed just one top-30 finish in a major (a T28 finish by Straka at the 2019 U.S. Open).
That is until each of them fired 5-under rounds of 65, the lowest scores of the week, to vault up the leaderboard at Oak Hill. Kitayama and Davis finished at 3-under with Straka just one stroke behind at 2-under. They will all finish inside the top-10 for the first time in a major.
With conditions slightly easier on Sunday, each player took advantage of ample scoring opportunities. Straka made eight birdies, Kitayama made six and Davis added four birdies and an eagle on the par-4 14th.
“To build off this one going into the other majors, every time you have a really good round under tough conditions, it’s just another little positive voice in the back of your head that, yeah, I can do this even when it’s difficult, even when the rough is really deep and the pins are tight and firming up quick and you can still play really good golf and make a score especially toward the end of a major,” Davis said. “That’s where I want to be. I’d love to win one or more of these for sure. You know, this is just one more step towards that goal for me.”
Max Homa: Homa’s journey to become a mainstay on the PGA TOUR took some time, but his ascension into a top-10 golfer in the world has come relatively rapidly. He’s put together back-to-back seasons with two wins and leapt all the way to No. 6 in the world. But his performance in majors has yet to catch up. His best major finish came at last year’s PGA Championship, a T13 finish. At the time it seemed like a harbinger of good finishes to come. A year later it has not borne out. Homa shot 71-72-74-72 at Oak Hill this week to finish T55.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Here’s a quick look at some of the big stories from the third round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, played on a soggy Saturday in western New York.
Brooks Koepka holds a one-shot lead as he seeks his fifth major and third victory in the PGA Championship. Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners, both chasing their first major, are one shot back.
Brooks Koepka used a second consecutive 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. He sits at 6-under 204 (72-66-66). A victory would make him just the sixth man to win three or more PGA Championships. Jack Nicklaus and Rochester native Walter Hagen have five apiece, Tiger Woods has won four PGAs, and Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead each have three.
Koepka won four majors from 2017-19 and had a chance to end his four-year drought last month at Augusta. He held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds but shot a final-round 75 to finish four shots behind Jon Rahm. It was the first time he lost a 54-hole lead in a major, having successfully converted his previous three. Now he has a chance to make amends.
Koepka said he was awake the entire night after that final round at Augusta National, trying to determine what caused him to stumble that Sunday. He declined to share what he learned, however.
“Learning what I learned at Augusta kind of helped today,” he said. “I won’t do it again the rest of my career. … I’ll never have that mindset or that won’t ever be the reason (I don’t win).”
Hov-ering around the lead: Viktor Hovland’s lack of major success earlier in his career was perplexing considering his ballstriking proficiency. That has changed rapidly. Hovland, 25, is contention for the third consecutive major. He’ll start the final round tied with Corey Conners, one behind leader Brooks Koepka.
“I don’t think this is a course where you can kind of get too crazy,” Hovland said. “You have to play smart, play for middle of the greens and give yourself a lot of looks and hopefully get that putter hot.”
Hovland played alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group at last year’s Open Championship, finishing fourth. He was seventh at the Masters after holding the first-round lead and beginning the final round in third place. No longer “young and stupid,” as he referred to himself earlier this week, he’s now employing the tried-and-true strategy for success in golf’s biggest events.
“You just have to wear out the center of the green,” he said. He leads the field in Strokes Gained: Approach and is second in greens in regulation, hitting at least 13 greens in each round.
Canada’s leading man: Oak Hill is not far from Canada, and those who have crossed the border to watch the PGA Championship will have one of their own to root on in the final round. Corey Conners continued his steady play after starting Saturday with a share of the lead. He made two birdies and one double-bogey Saturday to shoot 70 and finish the day one shot behind Koepka. Conners hit 14 greens on Saturday.
The double-bogey came after Conners drove into a fairway bunker on the 16th hole, then hit the next shot thin. His ball embedded in the face of the bunker and even after a free drop, he was left with an awkward lie on a steep slope.
“We had a laugh about it, really,” Conners said. “It was an unfortunate situation and a poor shot. Didn’t really affect the last few holes. Just tried to give myself a couple looks on 17 and 18.”
He rebounded from the miscue to par Oak Hill’s two trying closing holes.
Rory lurking: The rains, the roars and the Rors.
Rory McIlroy’s chances to hoist a trophy in his adopted second home of western New York are limited. Majors don’t come around here too much. He knows this, and the crowds at Oak Hill are very much behind him.
Despite struggles off the tee for much of the week, he’ll have a chance Sunday for his third Wanamaker Trophy and fifth major title.
McIlroy carded 1-under 69 in Saturday’s third round at Oak Hill to post 1-under 209 through 54 holes, five shots back of Koepka. The world No. 3 recorded three bogeys in a four-hole stretch to close his front nine, then bounced back with three back-nine birdies. He hacked it around the 17th but saved bogey with an up-and-down from behind the green, and he got up-and-down for par at the last. He’s within striking distance in pursuit of his first major title since 2014.
“I still don’t feel like my game is in great shape,” McIlroy said Saturday night. “I’ve held it together well. I’ve holed some good putts. I’ve scored well.”
McIlroy, whose wife Erica hails from Rochester, has found just 13 of 42 fairways this week, near the bottom of the field. But his strength to muscle the ball out of the rough has paid dividends. With rounds of 71-69-69, he’s not out of it.
Justin Rose (2 under): The 2013 U.S. Open champion has carded three rounds at par or better this week to remain within striking distance in pursuit of his second major title.
Scottie Scheffler (2 under): The former Masters and PLAYERS champion uncharacteristically struggled after starting Saturday with a share of the lead. He bogeyed his first two holes, and added two more at Nos. 6 and 7, en route to a 73. He made one birdie and no bogeys over his final 11 holes.
Michael Block (even par): The PGA’s Cinderella story continued, as the California club pro authored his third consecutive 70 to remain in contention. He will enter the final round in eighth place.
Tommy Fleetwood (1 over): The Englishman, a popular choice as best player yet to win a major, will have an outside shot at his first major title on Sunday. He carded one of Saturday’s low rounds, 2-under 68, including a bogey-free second nine with a birdie at 17.
Min Woo Lee (1 over): The Australian was under par for the week before a double bogey at the par-5 13th Saturday. With rounds of 73-67-71, he’ll enter Sunday around the top 10. He would earn Special Temporary Membership on TOUR with a top-27 finish.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners share the lead at 5-under through two rounds at Oak Hill. They also represent three distinct classes in the current structure of professional golf.
Scheffler is the dominant force – searching for his second major championship to pair alongside an already prolific PGA TOUR season that includes wins at THE PLAYERS Championship and the WM Phoenix Open. Hovland is the up-and-comer that everyone agrees could reach the tier Scheffler currently presides in but needs a win like this one to prove it. Then there’s Conners. Already a winner on the PGA TOUR this season, Conners has held a lead/co-lead of a major just once before. But while it’s always been assumed Scheffler and Hovland will rack up majors throughout their career, that same can’t be said for Conners.
The result is a mighty intriguing trio heading into the weekend.
Scheffler and Conners sat atop the leaderboard for much of the afternoon. Both grabbed a pair of birdies early in the round to jump in front, Scheffler on his first and second holes of the day and Conners on his fourth and sixth. Each player got as low as 6-under with birdies early on their inward nine but each dropped a shot late to fall back to 5-under.
Hovland spent most of the day chasing – and he was out and running early. He birdied his first two holes of the day, finding both fairways and then hitting a pair of good wedges to set up birdie looks. He drained a 10-foot putt on the first hole and a 20-footer on the second. His lone bogey came on the par-3 third. Hovland picked up another birdie on the par-4 10th and added another on the par-4 18th.
As quickly as Hovland burst on the PGA TOUR scene, it’s taken the Norwegian a bit longer to find his rhythm in major championships.
The question now is whether Hovland can maintain his play through the weekend. He was in the second-to-last group at the Masters and shot a final-round 74 to to fall out of contention. He was tied for the lead entering the final round of the 2022 Open Championship and shot a 74 to lose by six shots. What is in store for the 25-year-old this week?
Welcome to the Block party: If seeing the name Michael Block near the top of the leaderboard Friday morning caused you to do a double take, don’t fret. He certainly wasn’t expected to be there. But after two rounds, the PGA professional has left no doubt that he belongs there.
After an opening round of even-par 70, Block was rolling early on Friday morning. He made birdie on three of his first five holes thanks to superb approach play. He made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 10, his first hole of the day, then stuck his approach on the par-4 12th within 3 feet for another birdie. He added another at the short par-4 14th, which briefly vaulted him into second place and one stroke off the lead. He made a couple costly mistakes coming in, however, making a bogey from 88 yards on the par-5 fourth hole and shanking his tee shot on the par-3 fifth, which led to a double bogey. Yet, the club pro from Mission Viejo, California, was extremely pleased with his round.
“I feel like I’ve got the game this week to compete, to tell you the truth,” Block said.
Block stands T10 through 36 holes at Oak Hill. He’s the first club professional to crack the top 10 through 36 holes at the PGA Championship since Jay Overton in 1988 (solo second).
Cantlay the best of the morning wave: It was a difficult morning at Oak Hill as strong winds combined with a firm golf course. Among the 78 players who teed off Friday morning, only seven broke par. The top among them: Patrick Cantlay.
After firing a disappointing first-round 74, Cantlay followed it up with a 3-under 67, the lowest second-round score of the morning wave. He’s 1-over for the tournament, a respectable T19 into the weekend, six off the pace.
“I played really well today,” Cantlay said. “Did a lot of things well. The golf course is playing difficult, and I hit a lot of really solid, smart shots.”
Cantlay’s tee-to-green game was the biggest difference in his bounce-back round. Normally a top-tier driver and ball striker, Cantlay ranked 75th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green on Thursday. Through the morning wave, his second round ranked first.
Cantlay opened the day with birdies on three of his first five holes. None of the birdie putts were longer than 11 feet. He rebounded from a dropped shot on the par-3 15th with a birdie on the par-4 18th, again sticking his approach shot to within 10 feet and draining the putt. It appeared Cantlay was well on his way to posting a 4-under round to get back to even-par for the tournament; however, the No. 4 player in the world bogeyed his last hole of the day, No. 9. Still, Cantlay went from cut line to contention with his performance through two rounds.
Big names miss the cut: Several top names will not be staying in Rochester this weekend for the final two rounds of the PGA Championship. The cut line fell at 5-over 145.
Cameron Young, Sam Burns, Sungjae Im and Tom Kim were among notables from the morning wave to miss the cut.
Young entered the week as one of the favorites. Son of a PGA pro and a New York native, the No. 15 ranked player in the world struggled with Oak Hill’s difficult conditions. After an opening-round 74, Young shot 75 on Friday with a two-shot penalty for failing to replace his ball mark on No. 16.
Young was 2-under for the day as he played the 16th hole, his seventh hole of the second round. After putting his ball near the hole, Young moved his marker out of the line of fellow competitors Tommy Fleetwood and Hideki Matsuyama. Young failed to replace his marker before putting out, though, and that infraction of Rule 15.3c cost him two strokes, leading to a double bogey. That derailed his round as Young picked up bogeys on Nos. 18 and 4 before another double-bogey on the par-4 sixth.
Meanwhile, Im and Burns will both miss the cut after shooting 80 in one of their first two rounds. Im opened his tournament with an 80 on Thursday and followed it with a 73 on Friday. Burns shot 80 in his second round to balloon from 4-over to 14-over for the tournament. It’s his worst round in a major tournament. Burns couldn’t recover from a pair of triple bogeys on the second and fourth holes to begin his round.
Kim, who went viral on Thursday night after he slipped and fell into the mud on the par-4 sixth hole, played a sloppy second round. He made six bogeys and one double bogey en route to a 75. He finished 8 over for the tournament.
Matt Fitzpatrick (6 over) and Jason Day (8 over) were among notables to miss the cut from the afternoon wave. Fitzpatrick finished bogey-bogey on Nos. 17 and 18 to miss by one; Day played his last three holes in 3 over, including a missed 3-foot par putt on 16 followed by a double bogey on No. 17.
Rory McIlroy (71-69): McIlroy remains erratic off the tee – he’s hit just seven fairways through two rounds – but he’s managed to hold his game together. After back-to-back bogeys on par-4 sixth and par-4 seventh, McIlroy carded birdies on Nos. 9, 14 and 18 to get back to even-par for the tournament.
Justin Thomas (72-73): Thomas made the cut on the number despite near disaster on the 18th hole. After driving it in the fairway bunker, Thomas failed to get his second shot out of the sand and was forced to lay up with his third shot. He hit his approach to 8 feet and made the putt for bogey to survive the cut line. His chances may be slim, but the defending PGA Champion will be around for this weekend.
Jordan Spieth (73-72): After withdrawing from last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson due to a wrist injury, Spieth’s status into the PGA was a topic of intrigue. He did just enough to advance to the weekend on the number and maintain a thread of hope of completing the career Grand Slam this week. Spieth got up and down from a greenside bunker on No. 18 Friday to save par and make the cut on the number.
Justin Suh (69-68): The reigning Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year has proven that the major stage is not too big for him. The first-year TOUR member stands T4 into the weekend, two off the lead, after a steady second round that featured three birdies against one bogey. He’ll play in Saturday’s penultimate pairing alongside co-leader Viktor Hovland.
Collin Morikawa (71-70): Morikawa has finished inside the top 10 in seven of his 13 major appearances and has set himself up with a chance to add to that total this week at Oak Hill.
Callum Tarren (71-68): It’s just his third major appearance, and first at the PGA Championship, but the Brit has acquitted himself quite nicely at Oak Hill. Tarren carded three birdies and a bogey to finish 2-under overall.
Justin Rose (69-70): Rose has hit just seven fairways through two rounds but has managed to stay under par for the week. Rose is the only player in the last 30 years at the PGA Championship to hit seven or fewer fairways through 36 holes and still be under par.
Taylor Pendrith (70-69): In just his third major championship appearance, and first at the PGA Championship, Pendrith has put together a solid start to his week. After shooting 36 on his outward nine, Pendrith made three birdies and a bogey coming into the clubhouse on Friday to put himself 1-under through two days. He has made 206 feet of putts and is ranked second in Strokes Gained: Putting.
Max Homa (71-72): A wild scorecard for Homa included five birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey at No. 6. Still searching for his first top-10 in a major, Homa will make the cut but has work to do this weekend to climb the leaderboard.
Xander Schauffele (72-72): A double bogey on his final hole, the ninth, dampened what was a steady second round for Schauffele. After shooting 33 on his outward nine, he closed with 39 to drop to 4-over for the tournament.
Adam Scott (68-74): Scott again struggled to close out his round on Friday. Scott sat at 2-under for the tournament through 14 holes of his second round, but the Aussie closed bogey-bogey-double bogey-par, to drop back to 2-over for the tournament.
Eric Cole (67-74): The leader overnight, Cole struggled on Friday. After making six birdies through 15 holes of his first round, Cole failed to make a birdie over his next 21 holes. Cole has made a double-bogey on the par-4 sixth in both rounds.
BY THE NUMBERS
20: Since 1958, 63 of the eventual 65 champions were inside the top-20 after two rounds. The exceptions are Collin Morikawa at TPC Harding Park in 2020 (T25 after 36 holes) and Padraig Harrington at Oakland Hills in 2008 (T26)6: The par-4 sixth is playing as the most difficult hole on the course. The stroke average is 4.808. It’s the first time a hole has played more than .8 strokes over par for an entire round in PGA Championship history.0: Players representing England have won the PGA Championship. Justin Rose is currently 1-under in a tie for eighth.4: The total number of club professionals over the last 20 years to rank among the top-40 after 36 holes of the PGA Championship. Michael Block is the fifth. He is even-par, tied for 10th.
ROCHESTER, N. Y. — Eric Cole, a 34-year-old PGA TOUR rookie playing in just his second major, leads the suspended first round of the PGA Championship. Cole made six birdies and just a single bogey over his first 14 holes Thursday. He will return early Friday to complete the final four holes of his first round.
Cole was a mini-tour legend in South Florida before making it to the TOUR, winning more than 50 times on the Minor League Golf Tour. He played his first Korn Ferry Tour season in 2020-21 and graduated from that circuit last year. He has had a successful first TOUR season, finishing second to Chris Kirk in a playoff at The Honda Classic and T5 at the Mexico Open at Vidanta. Cole ranks 46th in the FedExCup.
“It’s nice. I like it a lot,” replied Cole when asked for his reaction to seeing his name atop the leaderboard. “Whenever you play, you want to compete to win. That’s the spot I like to see my name at, and hopefully it is there more often.”
Cole missed the cut in his only previous major, the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He comes from a family of successful pros, as his mother, Laura Baugh, was the 1973 LPGA Rookie of the Year and his father, Bobby Cole, won the 1977 Buick Open on the PGA TOUR. Baugh is a PGA of America member and operates a golf academy in northeast Florida.
Scottie’s bogey-free start: Scottie Scheffler has already accomplished plenty in his young PGA TOUR career. Currently No. 2 in the world, he’s already reached No. 1 numerous times. He has victories at THE PLAYERS Championship and the Masters.
One feat he had yet to conquer: a bogey-free round in a major championship.
That changed Thursday as the 26-year-old Texan carded a blemish-free 3-under 67. On a day when many imploded around Oak Hill, Scheffler’s opening round looked about as easy as you can imagine.
Only two of his 15 made par putts came from outside 7 feet. Starting on the 10th hole, Scheffler took advantage of the drivable par-4 14th, making his first birdie of the day. He then capitalized on two stellar shots, knocking in a 15-footer for birdie on the par-3 fifth and converting on a short birdie putt on the par-4 eighth after stuffing his 121-yard approach to 3 feet.
“Today was probably the easiest conditions we’ll see all week with the golf course. So getting around with no bogeys was really good,” Scheffler said. “I mean, that’s pretty much how I shot 3-under. There’s not really many birdie opportunities out there. So if you can limit the mistakes, good things will happen.”
It’s his first bogey-free round in 51 major rounds. He was the only player without a bogey in the morning wave. Coming off a T5 finish at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, Scheffler has finished inside the top-12 in each of his last 13 events. He’s set himself up to continue that trend, and more, as he chases his second major championship.
Rory rebounds: Over the back of the green on No. 2, his 11th hole of the day, Rory McIlroy looked like he was headed toward back-to-back missed cuts to start this year’s major season. Already 3-over on the day, McIlroy was staring at a 37-footer for par up a severe slope that he absolutely needed. Par felt like a longshot, double bogey was well within play. Given he had just bogeyed three of his previous six holes, it didn’t look promising.
But history tells us that as soon as you count out the four-time major champion, he reels you back in. He did the same Thursday. McIlroy drained the long par putt, then rattled off back-to-back birdies to finish the last seven holes 2-under and salvage his chances for his first major championship since 2014. He finished at 1-over.
“It was massive. I don’t know how — depending on what happens over the next three days and what I go on to do, you know, I may look back at that shot as being the sort of turning point of the week,” McIlroy said.
Following the par save on the par-4 second, McIlroy stuck his tee shot on the 209-yard par-3 third to 2 feet to make birdie. Then on the 617-yard par-5 fourth, McIlroy hit two great shots to set up an eagle chance from 22 feet away. He narrowly missed the putt but tapped in for another birdie.
A three-putt on the par-3 fifth dropped him back to 2-over, but McIlroy added a birdie on the par-4 eighth to end his round with some momentum.
McIlroy admitted he is struggling with his swing – and he was particularly erratic off the tee during the first round. He hit only two fairways.
“I can definitely hit it better than that,” he said.
Rahm’s uncharacteristic round: Perhaps the most surprising development of the day was Jon Rahm’s struggles. The No. 1 player in the world carded his worst score relative to par this season, a 6-over 76.
It was even more startling considering Rahm was 1-under through six holes. But the round slowly began to get away from him on the par-4 16th, his seventh hole of the day. After he found the rough off the tee, Rahm failed to get up and down from the greenside rough to drop back to even par and proceeded to bogey four of his next six holes. He dropped another shot on No. 6, then made a double bogey on the par-4 seventh, missing a 4-foot bogey try.
No part of Rahm’s game was working. He hit just five of 14 fairways, seven of 18 greens and was just 4-for-11 in scrambling opportunities. He lost more than two shots to the field on the greens. Rahm, a two-time major champion, has made the cut in his last 14 major appearances. He’ll have plenty of work to do Friday if he intends to keep the streak alive.
Viktor Hovland (68): Hovland’s stretch of strong starts in majors continues. The Norwegian rattled off five birdies to keep his round afloat and finish 2-under. He was tied for the lead after the first round of the Masters earlier this year and tied for fifth after 18 holes of last year’s Open Championship.
Adam Scott (68): The 42-year-old was near the lead before making a double-bogey 6 on 18. Scott was the first-round co-leader in the 2013 PGA at Oak Hill before finishing T5. He arrived at Oak Hill this year in good form, having finished T5 at the Wells Fargo Championship and T8 in the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Keegan Bradley (68): Bradley led the morning wave with seven birdies, but a double bogey on No. 15 and bogeys on two of his last three holes (Nos. 7 and 9) kept Bradley from the lead. Still, a 2-under start puts him right in the mix.
Michael Block (70): Block is the leading PGA professional after shooting even par in the opening round. He was 3 over par after 10 holes but made three birdies and no bogeys the rest of the way. Block is making his fifth PGA Championship appearance. He is seeking his first made cut. Thursday represented his lowest round in a PGA Championship.
Sahith Theegala (71): Theegala got as low as 3-under, but five bogeys on his back nine quickly took the wind out of his PGA Championship debut.
Justin Thomas (72): A double bogey on the par-4 sixth derailed what was a blemish-free start to his PGA Championship title defense. Thomas birdied his first hole, the 10th, and rattled off 13 straight pars before making a mess of No. 6, the hardest hole on the course through the morning wave. Add another bogey coming in and Thomas had work to do as he chases his third Wanamaker Trophy.
Jordan Spieth (73): Nursing a left wrist injury, Spieth looked a bit rusty after he had to withdraw from last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. Chasing the last leg of the career Grand Slam, Spieth bogeyed his first hole of the day and never got under par. He made three bogeys, a double and two birdies to shoot 3-over.
Jason Day (76): A winner last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson to snap a five-year winless drought, Day struggled to carry over his success. He failed to make a birdie and bogeyed his last two holes to drop to 6-over.
Matt Fitzpatrick (76): There were no birdies on Fitzpatrick’s scorecard Thursday. The reigning U.S. Open champ struggled off the tee, hitting only four fairways.