Jordan? Rory? The bunkers?! What was the biggest surprise from Round 1 of the PGA?
Check in each day of this week’s PGA Championship for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topic in the tournament, and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.
Sean Zak: Rory breaking 70! The man has rarely shot under par in his major championship first rounds lately. Not only did he break par, he broke Southern Hills! He was working the ball each way off the tee, bombing and gouging his way around an otherwise difficult test. His misses ended in good spots. His makes ended in the bottom of the cup. It was pretty clinical.
James Colgan: Man, I thought this golf course set up perfectly for Jordan Spieth, particularly given the confidence surrounding his recent play. Instead, he looked one good gust away from being blown completely out of the field at Southern Hills Thursday. For a guy standing a win away from the career grand slam, I was shocked … and underwhelmed.
Josh Sens: I suppose it’s not a shocker that Tiger had an off day, given all he’s been through. But the WAY he had his off day was surprising. By missing fairways with irons off the tee. With some truly awful (by his standards) bunker shots. We knew he wasn’t going to overpower the course or the field. But I was thinking he’d turn to his great surgical skills to keep pace. Far from the case.
Josh Berhow: Patrick Cantlay is near the top of that list of players who are destined to win a major, but he’s not going to do it by firing 76s! He was among the pre-tournament favorites but made eight bogeys and has work to do just to make the weekend. Other than that, I don’t think anyone expected Rory to go so low and Jordan (who’s been as hot as anyone) to not make more noise in such ideal morning playing conditions.
Nick Piastowski: All good above, and I’ll just tack on another — the five-over 75 from Brooks Koepka, with just one birdie. You’d be right to question both whether he’s still not completely healthy, and his decision not to play since the Masters. Bethpage Brooks seems longer than three years ago at this point. (If he shoots 62 on Friday, I’ll own up to it in this space.)
Luke Kerr-Dineen: The correct answer is Will Zalatoris making putts, because wow, Will Zalatoris made a lot of putts. More than 150 ft worth of putts, in all, which is a career best by a country mile. He gained a whopping 3.431 strokes on the greens which, for a man who loses about half a stroke per round on average, has to be some kind of statistical miracle. If the best iron player on tour manages to keep his putter any semblance of hot for the next three rounds, he’ll have be playing with one hand on the trophy.