By Thomas Dodd
- Jimmy Walker leads after day one of Golf’s final major at Baltusrol in New Jersey
- Big names such as Rory Mcilroy, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson struggle
- Four Brits in top 20 including Lee Westwood
BALTUSROL, SPRINGFIELD, NEW JERSEY, USA – Jimmy Walker fired a five under par 65 to lead the USPGA Championship after day one, as some of the pre-tournament favourites struggled.
The American fired six birdies and one bogey to lead by one shot from three players, including two-time major winner Martin Kaymer and England’s Ross Fisher, who both went round in 66.
Defending champion Jason Day‘s only blemish in an opening 68 was a three putt bogey at the par four 5th, and the Australian sits in the top 10 after 18 holes.
His playing partners Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy were less spectacular, with lefty fighting back from a poor start to shoot 71, three better than the Northern Irishmen, who won his two Wanamaker trophies in 2012 and 2014.
Mickelson won the title the last time the PGA came to Baltusrol in 2005, but seemed to be suffering somewhat of an Open hangover after his runner-up finish at Troon two weeks ago.
Many people’s pick for the week Rickie Fowler – to many the best player without a major title – took advantage of the calm morning conditions to shoot a 68, one more than England’s Andy Sullivan and one less than British trio Chris Wood, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood.
Major champions Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson both had up and down days before eventually signing for rounds of 70 and 71 respectively, while playing partner Sergio Garcia also shot one over par.
Masters champion Danny Willett birdied the closing par five to shoot a round of 71, while Henrik Stenson continued his good form after winning the Open by shooting a three under round of 67.
2016’s final major, as ever named ‘Glory’s Last Shot’ is taking place one week earlier than usual on the calendar thanks to the inclusion of the Olympics on the schedule for the first time.
But the proximity of the tournament to the Open Championship at Troon (just two weeks) may possibly explain the flat nature to the opening day in New Jersey, and why so many of the game’s biggest players failed to perform.
Nobody in the 156-man field will sleep worse than Dustin Johnson, though.
The US Open champion hadn’t finished outside the top-10 in his last six events worldwide, but will be battling to make the cut on Friday morning after a shocking round of seven over par 77.
Leaderboard after Day 1: (US Unless stated)
-5 Jimmy Walker
-4 Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Ross Fisher (ENG), Martin Kaymer (GER)
-3 Harris English, James Hahn, Andy Sullivan (ENG), Henrik Stenson (SWE)
-2 KJ Choi (KOR), David Lingmerth (SWE), Rickie Fowler, Scott Hend (AUS), Brookes Koepka, Robert Streb, Vaughn Taylor, Jason Day (AUS), Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), John Senden (AUS), Russell Henley, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)
Selected Others (GB Unless Stated)
-1 Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Chris Wood
E Jordan Spieth (USA)
+1 Phil Mickelson (USA)
+1 Danny Willett
+4 Rory Mcilroy
+7 Dustin Johnson (USA)
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