It has been five years since Jason Day won his only major title. Since then the Aussie has endured plenty of personal and professional strife, never really coming close to the sweetness that enveloped him when he won at the Whistling Straits in 2015. Having parted ways with his longtime mentor Colin Swatton, Day played with renewed purpose to score a measured 65 for a one-stroke advantage over seven golfers, including former PGA Champ Martin Kaymer and Scottie Scheffler.
Tiger Woods makes a good start
The star studded morning session included the grouping of world No.1 Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. While Thomas lost his way toward the later part of the round, Woods found momentum. The 15-time major champion came out on top with a 68, while Thomas signed on a 71. McIlroy played his heart out but could go no farther than an even 70. Woods was most impressive around the greens, playing well within himself for a solid start. He made three birdies in four holes from the 4th on his inward stretch. Incredibly, the 68 is the best opening round in a major for Tiger Woods, since the US Open in 2012.
Day made five birdies and kept his card clean for a gratifying round at the TPC Harding Park, the venue of the first PGA Championship on the West Coast since 1988. The event is being played without spectators to fulfil the COVID-19 regulations at this time.
Kaymer began his round on the 10th, but got much of his work done on the second nine. After two birdies in three holes after the turn, he cushioned his card with an eagle on the fourth to account for his 66.
Brooks Koepka chases rare threepeat
Brooks Koepka is the two-time defending champion. His quest for a threepeat took off to a rosy start, with Koepka making a 66 to join a group of seven golfers at the score.
Tony Finau, Kevin Kisner, Daniel Berger, Gary Woodland and Alex Noren were all sitting on the edge of the top 10 with a 3-under 67 to their names.
Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson were tucked further back at 69 after they too were among the early starters.
Sung Kang shot an even 70, after starting on the 10th hole. He made a bogey and birdie on either side of his disciplined round at the municipal course. Haotong Li, Byeong Hun An, Joohyung Kim, Sungjae Im, Xinjun Zhang, Ryo Ishikawa (72) & C. T. Pan (72) were among the Asians in the field.