Day One – 100th PGA Championship – All The Notes

Thursday Notes
100th PGA Championship
August 9, 2018
GARY WOODLAND IS THE FIRST-ROUND LEADER AT THE 100TH PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Gary Woodland posted an opening-round 64 and leads the 100th PGA Championship by one shot over Rickie Fowler (65) and two over Zach Johnson and Brandon Stone (66). Eleven players, including 2015 PGA Champion Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Rose, are three off Woodland’s pace at 3-under 67. Forty-six players in all tallied sub-par opening rounds at Bellerive Country Club, which is hosting its second PGA Championship.
Woodland’s surge to the top of the leaderboard was fueled by seven birdies in a 10-hole stretch (holes 8-17) and an inward 30. Woodland narrowly missed an 18-foot birdie bid on the final hole that would have equaled the lowest round in PGA Championship history. Defending PGA Champion Justin Thomas birdied three of his initial six holes and finished at one-under-par, 69.

Gary Woodland on route to a round of 6 and a one shot lead on day one of the 2018 PGA Championship. (Photo @PGAChampionship)

THAT’S A BELLERIVE RECORD
Gary Woodland’s 64 on Thursday established a new mark for low round in a major championship played at Bellerive, which is hosting its third men’s major championship (1965 U.S. Open, 1992 and 2018 PGA Championship). Woodland bested the former mark of 65, initially set by Jeff Maggert in the third round of the 1992 PGA Championship and matched by Rickie Fowler Thursday morning.
Woodland’s 64 matches his lowest for the 2017-18 PGA Tour season (R4, Sony Open) and is also his best in the PGA Championship (previous: 67 – R1, 2012).
WOODLAND’S ROLLING
Gary Woodland owns the first-round advantage after posting a 6-under 64. After a bogey on the first hole, Woodland went bogey-free the rest of the way and collected seven birdies, while rolling in putts that totaled 152’ 5”, a personal best.
SEEKING HIS FIRST
Woodland’s best finish in a major championship is T-12, which came both at the 2011 PGA Championship (Atlanta Athletic Club) and 2016 Open (Royal Troon).
THE LOW DOWN ON RICKIE
Rickie Fowler’s opening 65 this morning was the lowest round he’s carded in 31 career PGA Championship rounds.
WEEKEND WARRIORS
Francesco Molinari (opening-round 68) has made the cut in nine straight PGA Championships, the longest streak in the field. Bill Haas (72 today) ranks second on the current list having played seven consecutive weekends at the PGA Championship. Both will look to extend their streaks during Friday’s second round at Bellerive.
TIGER’S SLOW START TURNS SOLID
Although his morning started bogey-double bogey on his initial two holes, Tiger Woods righted his ship and carded an even-par round 70 on Thursday. The 70 was Woods’ best first-round score in a PGA Championship since 2012 (69 at Kiawah Island) and his lowest first-round tally in a major championship since the 2014 Open Championship (69).
MAJOR TEST
Bellerive Country Club’s par-3 6th hole played the toughest on Thursday, averaging 0.462 strokes over par. The 224-yard pin relinquished just nine birdies in the first round, while 65 players made bogey or worse. As it stands through the first round, there is only one par 3 that has played tougher on the PGA Tour this season: PGA National/Honda Classic (No. 17; +0.533).
BOGEY-FREE
Several players signed unblemished scorecards on Thursday: Pat Perez (67, T-5); Hideki Matsuyama (68, T-16); Keegan Bradley (69, T-33); and Emiliano Grillo (69, T-33).
U.S.-HEAVY LEADERBOARD
American players dominated the first-round leader board. Of those in the top 15, 10 are U.S.-born: Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Austin Cook, Pat Perez, Brian Gay, Stewart Cink, Ollie Schniederjans, Dustin Johnson, and Kevin Kisner.
BEN KERN LEADS THE 20-MEMBER PGA CLUB PROFESSIONAL CONTINGENT
Ben Kern, making his PGA Championship debut, posted a 1-over-par 71 to lead the 20-member PGA Club Professional contingent.
The PGA Head Professional at Georgetown (Texas) Country Club, salvaged par on the ninth hole (his 18th of the day) to boost his momentum heading into Friday’s second round. Kern held his round together with a birdie at No. 3 (his 12th of the day), and had bogeys at Nos. 6 and 14.
Kern, who won the Texas State Open last week, hit an errant 4-wood tee shot on No. 9, managed to hook a 20-yard approach from the trees into a greenside bunker and blasted out to five feet. From there, he rolled in the par putt.
“It was a great way to end the day,” said Kern. “I obviously enjoyed being here. I was striking the ball well, hitting a lot of fairways and greens. I gave myself a ton of chances for birdies,” said Kern. “Winning last week was huge. The course we played in Tyler, Texas, (Cascades) demanded that you hit fairways. The mindset I had there was the same that I brought here.”
Kern was a stroke ahead of Craig Hocknull of Gilbert, Arizona, and Danny Balin of Rockville, Maryland, who each posted a 72. Reigning PGA Professional Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Nebraska, had a 73.


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