Anirban Lahiri finished his first round at one under par 73 in round one of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol. Lahiri, who finished T5 at Whistling Straits during the 2015 PGA Championship picked two birdie, had 12 pars but was set back by two bogeys and a double on the 15th.
Jimmy Walker came to life Thursday in the PGA Championship when he saw putts drop and wound up leading a major for the first time in his career. A great year might get even better for Henrik Stenson. Walker took advantage of smoother greens in the morning Thursday at Baltusrol by rolling in six birdies for a 5-under 65, giving him a one-shot lead after the opening round of the final major that delivered its share of surprises.
U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, with a chance to go to No. 1 in the world, was in the trees, in the water and couldn’t get out of a bunker. He managed only one birdie in a round of 77 that wasn’t enough to beat 15 of the club pros at Baltusrol.
He wasn’t alone in his misery. Rory McIlroy took 35 putts and didn’t make a single birdie in his round of 74 that left him so frustrated that he returned to Baltusrol late in the day with his putter.
Henrik Stenson had his struggles on the greens, too, but he was rolling right along at the end with three birdies over his last seven holes for a 67, leaving him only two shots out of the lead as he tries to become the first player since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win back-to-back majors at age 40.
“I’m pleased with that start,” said the winner of The Open 2016. “I thought I played a very solid round. I wasn’t in too much trouble at any time. Hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and gave myself some good chances. Maybe felt like a slight lack of preparation on the putting green this week was showing up on a few occasions, but all in all, I think I putted okay, and I made the most of the ones I needed to make. And a couple birdie putts coming in there, which 3-under in a major is always good.”