PGA Championship Live Blog: Live updates from Round 1 at Bellerive

August 8, 2018
PGA Championship Live Blog, Dustin Johnson

The 2018 PGA Championship has arrived at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, and we are following all the action in the first round with our PGA Championship Live Blog.

Tiger Woods is only three weeks removed from a thrilling performance at the British Open. He will be joined by two other PGA Tour stars: Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. Thomas is the defending champion this week and will look to capture his second major title and second-straight win at Bellerive. McIlroy will look to get back in the major winner’s circle and put a third Wanamaker trophy on his shelf.

You can keep up with all the action on Thursday below.



5:00: That’s all for us today, folks. Join us tomorrow to follow the second round in another edition of the PGA Championship Live Blog.

4:57: DJ does it again. Another great putt at 12 leads to yet another birdie. He’s now in sole possession of second place at -4, just one behind Fowler.

4:55: Here’s a look at DJ’s long birdie make at 11:

4:53: Check out what our own Alan Shipnuck had to say about the morning’s featured group of Tiger/JT/Rory:

4:51: Spieth sticks his approach into the 9th green, well inside of his playing partners. He’ll have a good look at another birdie from about 10 feet.

4:49: It seems like the afternoon wave is starting to kick it into gear after a rough start. Birdies are dropping.

4:46: Here’s a look at Spieth’s near hole-out at 7:

4:43: Dustin Johnson keeps on rolling… DJ makes a long birdie putt at 11, his fifth of the day. With that he joins Kyle Stanley at -3, just two shots behind Fowler’s lead.

4:40: Rose makes a beautiful stroke with his birdie putt at 8 and sinks it to move to -2. Rahm drops his short one to get to -1. Spieth settles for another par.

4:35: Spieth had to hit his third shot on the par-5 8th from deep rough short and left of the green. He hits a decent one from there to the back collar, but he’ll have a tough putt for birdie.

4:33: Patrick Reed (+2) stops the bleeding with a birdie at 9.

4:28: 52-year-old John Daly is off to an impressive start. He’s made one birdie and two bogeys to go +1 on his first nine.

4:23: Spieth makes his putt at 7 to capture his first birdie of the day. He moves to +1. Rose gets up-and-down for par to remain at -1.

4:21: Kooooooooch gets into red numbers with a birdie at 10. -1.

4:17: Spieth nearly holes out for eagle at 7. His ball spun back into the hole but bounced out and settled to 2 feet. Should be a birdie for Jordan at least.

4:16: Kyle Stanley is the only player on the course at -3 after a birdie at 1.

4:13: DJ fails to make it four in a row at 9. He taps in for par to remain three shots behind Fowler at -2.

4:10: Patrick Reed has made back-to-back bogeys to fall to +3 through 7 holes. No one seems to be going really low this afternoon.

4:06: Spieth saves par at 6 with a clutch putt. He really needed that to keep from really going off the rails.

4:03: Bubba Watson has reached -2 early as well:

4:00: Look out, Dustin Johnson is making a run. He birdies 8 to move to -2. That’s three birdies in a row for the top-ranked player.

3:55: Spieth makes his fourth par in a row at 5 after his opening double-bogey. He’s still stuck at +2.

3:53: Yang drops his first shot of the day at the 15th. He’s now at -2.

3:46: Patrick Reed, who is also playing in the major champ group with Koepka and Molinari, hit the green with his tee shot. But a three-putt earns him a bogey and moves him down to +2.

3:44: Your 2018 Open champions Koepka and Molinari both finish with double bogeys after rinsing their tee shots at 6. Koepka falls to +2, Molinari to +3.

3:42: Y.E. Yang is making things happen early in Round 1:

3:38: Dustin Johnson makes a second-straight birdie at 7 to get to -1. That’s more like it.

3:36: Brooks Koepka AND Francesco Molinari just dunked their tee shots at the par-3 6th. Not good.


3:31: Tommy Fleetwood can’t convert a mid-range birdie at 6. He’s at +1 so far.

3:27: John Rahm, a popular pick to win this week, is -1 after going birdie-par-par to open his round.

3:23:  Here’s a look at DJ’s chip-in on 6:

3:20: Here comes Dustin Johnson… DJ chips in for birdie on the par-3 6th to get back to even par.

3:17: Justin Rose reaches red numbers with a beautiful birdie putt at 3. Spieth taps in for par. Meanwhile, 1991 champion John Daly is back to even par after a birdie at the 14th.

3:11: So far only two players in the afternoon wave are taking advantage of the good conditions: Jason Dufner and Y.E. Yang. Both are -2 through 3. Both are former PGA Champions.

3:09: Justin Rose makes a birdie at 2, he’s back to even. Spieth (+2) has to settle for par. DJ fails to birdie 5 and will remain at +1.

3:06: In case you missed Tiger’s round, you can read all about it here:

3:04: Spieth hits a decent approach at 2. He’ll have a shot to get back one of those he lost on at the 1st.

3:00. Although guys aren’t exactly testing the major championship scoring record out here, it’s an incredibly bunched leaderboard. Only two players of the 100-plus on course are worse than six over — in the current conditions, Bellerive doesn’t have any crazy teeth. Hard to make birdies? Maybe. But no problem sticking around par for most of the field.

2:55. Brutal three-putt from Spieth at the opener. Tiger had an early double too, of course, but that’s a rough start. Greens aren’t getting any smoother.

2:50. Cool bit from Rickie on wearing yellow in honor of the late Jarrod Lyle.  The outpouring of support has been great to watch.

2:45. Not off to a great start? Jordan Spieth. He’s got about 50 feet for par at his very first hole of the day after a wayward tee shot. You can add Dustin Johnson to that list as well; he’s one over. Say it with me: “Lot of golf left.”

2:35. Best quote from Tiger’s post-round presser? “I just sweat a lot.” He changed shirts after just the second hole. To be fair, we’re in Missouri in August. Everyone’s sweating a lot. But I haven’t seen many others employing the two-shirt method. More on that here!

2:25. From the hot start department let’s check out Matt Dobyns! The head pro at Fresh Meadows in New York is currently low club pro after a three-birdie start.

2:15. Okay, let’s take stock of the leaderboard, shall we? Rickie Fowler just wrapped up a presser in which he was understandably upbeat after opening with a five-under 65. There’s nobody at four-under but there’s a whole squad at three-under: Cook, Poulter, Perez, Day, and Gay all posted rounds of 67 and three more — Cink, Grace and Schniederjans — are on their 18th hole. Scores aren’t insanely low as some predicted, but there are a bunch of guys in red figures.

2:05. Well, in the end these three all ended up about where they started. Thomas will feel disappointed after a closing bogey left him at one-under 69. McIlroy never quite got it going in an even-par 70. And a finishing two-putt par leaves Woods at 70 as well. He should be pleased, given that start. It’ll be interesting to hear his post-game remarks; he really salvaged this round.

2:00. Tiger will have some 25 feet left to finish out his round at No. 9.

1:50. Tiger finds the fairway at No. 9; not so much for his playing partners, who spray it left and right. For the first time since he teed off, Woods is at even par. How will he finish?

1:45. Birdie for Woods! He trickles that one down the hill and into the cup from 8-10 feet. Rory can’t match; his slides just past the top edge.

1:40. Woods actually didn’t find the bunker; he was on a sideslope. Not a terribly easy shot and he hits an okay one but it carries too much pace and he’ll be left with about 8 feet for birdie. Thomas is putting for birdie from the fringe and Rory has a little work left for birdie, too.

1:35. Lots of waiting for the green to clear before JT swings away from over 300 yards out. He comes up short and left but draws a good lie at the edge of the fairway, setting up a tricky chip. Tiger’s next and seems to like it but doesn’t get the kick he wanted — looks like that one found the bunker greenside. Rory finds the left greenside bunker pin-high. The lie will dictate this next shot.

1:30. If Tiger is going to get back to even-par for the day, this is where he’ll want to strike. Nice tee shot down the left side at the 610-yard par-5 8th. He hit that one 312…but he’s 25 yards behind Rory.

1:25. A really good look from Tiger comes up just a couple rotations short of falling at No. 7. Rory scares the hole as well, and JT slow-mo horseshoes his putt. More importantly, Rickie Fowler just finished up at 18. He’s in the house with a five-under 65 and is the clubhouse leader by three.

1:20. Middle of the green for Tiger after a too-safe approach with a wedge. Rory does a little better but JT’s was by far the best; he’s inside 10 feet for birdie. More like 25-30 for Woods.

1:15. Woods swinging two-iron at No. 7 and that’s nice and smooth right down the middle. JT joins him in the fairway. Up ahead, Rickie Fowler moves to five-under with another birdie! He’s got a two-shot lead.

1:10. Tiger cleans up his par there; that’s a nifty save. Man, these greens look bumpy, though. I don’t envy the afternoon groups. Three 3s for the featured group at 6.

1:05. Okay folks, Dylan Dethier here to take you through the next couple hours. Reporting live from the media center here at Bellerive and Tiger just hit a high, soft chip from the collection area that grabbed and sat about five feet short.

1:02: Tiger tees off first, and overcooks it, over the green on the left. Rory is safely on the green, but it’s a long putt for birdie. JT finds the edge of the green, right up against the first cut.

12:58: Here we are at No. 6, a par 3, where there’s a holdup on the tee as they wait for the green to clear.

12:55: Tiger’s birdie never has a chance and he taps in for par.

12:51: Rory putts to tap-in range for his par, and JT misses his birdie attempt on the low side. Now it’s Tiger’s turn.

12:50: Rickie Fowler birdied No. 7 to get to -4 with two holes to play. He’s the outright leader now, with Stewart Cink hanging in at one shot back.

12:48: Rory hits a decent approach to the left fringe, about pin high. JT hits his shot to about 20 feet from the first cut, and Tiger sticks another good one to about 10 feet for birdie.

12:42: Tiger goes with driver — and finds the fairway! Woo! Rory follows suit, and JT finds the first cut on the right.

12:39: Tiger drains his par save, and Rory taps in for par as well. On to No. 5, a par 4 playing 475 today.

12:37: JT misses his par putt to drop his first shot of the day. He falls to -2, one shot back of the lead.

12:36: Tiger hits a lovely shot from the bunker to give himself about six feet for par.

12:35: JT is not happy with his chip, but he only has maybe 8-10 feet to convert for his par.

12:32: 178 left for Rory and he’s safely on the green, pin high, but not super close. Before him, Tiger hit low shot from the left rough that ended up in the front right greenside bunker.

12:30: JT has 226 left to the green and comes up a little short but he’s in the fairway and it’s not bad.

12:26: No. 4 is a par 4 playing over 500 yards today. TW hits it a little left, and JT loses his in the rough to the right. Rory smokes it right down the middle.

12:23: A near miss for Rory’s birdie, and Tiger follows suit, coming up just short. JT also comes up short from the fringe and taps in for par. So, ho-hum on No. 3 for our trio.

12:19: No. 3 is playing 153 yards today. TW hits a safe shot to about pin high, 20 feet from the cup. JT takes a more aggressive line and ends up just off the green on the fringe. And Rory hits a safe shot like Tiger, also 20-25 feet from the hole.

12:14: JT also misses his birdie attempt. And WOW, Rory horseshoes out of the hole and he can’t believe it. That was painful.

12:12: Tiger hits a pretty nice putt but it’s a big slider from left to right, and he ends up just short. Will be an easy tap in for par.

12:09: Rory hits a beautiful approach, setting up a short birdie try of about six feet. TW hits a pitching wedge that refuses to spin back toward the hole, leaving him with about 15 feet for birdie. JT also hits a solid approach to about 15 feet away from the hole.

12:04: Rory and JT go with irons off the tee, with JT’s skirting past TW’s ball by about 20 yards.

12:02: Tiger seems to be getting into a nice groove. Finds his third fairway in a row with the 3-wood off the tee on No. 2.

11:59: GREAT putt for TW for his second birdie in a row. He’s back to +1 on the day. JT taps in for par to stay at -3.

11:58: Rory’s birdie attempt ends up just short, and he taps in for par.

11:56: Tiger hits a great approach, setting up another short birdie attempt of about 8-10 feet. Rory also finds the green but will have 25 feet for birdie. JT ends up just short of the green from the fairway bunker, but it’s puttable.

11:51: At 425 yards, No. 1 is one of the shorter par 4s at Bellerive. Rory and Tiger find the fairway, while it looks like JT ends up in the left-side bunker.

11:48: Leaderboard update: Four players are now at -3: JT, Rafa Cabrella-Bello, Stewart Cink, and Rickie, who birdied two of his last three holes!

11:46: So, as we make the turn to No. 1, Tiger is at +2, JT remains tied for the lead at -3, and Rory is at even par.

11:44: All right! Tiger drains his birdie to get back to +2 through his first nine. JT misses his birdie and settles for par, and Rory takes a bogey.

11:41: All things considered, Rory hits a very well-executed flop to set up a 18-20 footer for par.

11:39: So Rory is actually WAY over the green, into the gallery. He’s taking a free drop now. Will be a tough shot to a short-sided pin.

11:36: 142 left for JT, and he too, hits it pretty tight, just outside of Tiger. Rory, meanwhile, has 137 from the right rough and gets a flyer, which lands over the green.

11:34: 184 yards left for Tiger. He nails it! Looks like about three feet left for birdie, and the gallery loves it.

11:31: No. 18 is a dogleg left. No birdies thus far today. Tiger and JT find the fairway, while Rory loses his drive in the rough on the right.

11:26: Tiger drains a testy little five-footer for par, and JT and Rory clean up too. On to the 18th.

11:24: JT takes the pin out to chip from the fringe and he babys it just a tad. He’s nearly in gimme range for par but seemed a bit unhappy with the effort. Rory misses his birdie try and leaves himself a few feet for par. He’s not happy about that effort either.

11:22: Tiger hits a nice bunker shots that nearly drops in the hole, leaving him about four feet for par.

11:20: My goodness. Tiger makes the same mistake, and ends up in the bunker behind the hole. Rory, meanwhile, stays below the hole, setting up a makeable birdie from about 12 feet.

11:19: 138 yards left for JT. This is a big green, with the pin cut on the very back. JT overcooks it just a bit, and it hangs on the fringe of the green off the back, about 10 feet from the hole.

11:15: Tiger has about 300 yards left to the green, and he opts to lay up with an iron, landing safely in the fairway. JT is a few yards ahead of Tiger in the same bunker and also lays up. Rory, meanwhile, has a lie that is much worse than it looked originally and is forced to lay up as well.

11:10: Next up is the one par 5 on the back nine. JT misses left, his first missed fairway of the day. Rory also misses left but finds a decent lie in the rough. He’s still -1 on the day. Tiger hits driver like the others, and also finds the bunker on the left side of the fairway. An inauspicious start on this par 5 for our trio.

11:06: Justin Thomas, meanwhile, pars the 16th to remain -3 and tied atop the leaderboard with Stewart Cink.

11:04: Greetings, folks. Jess Marksbury with you for the next two hours. And I’m just in time for another Tiger bogey on the par-3 16th. Bummer. He falls to +3 for the day.

10:57: On the 241-yard par-3 16th, McIlroy and Thomas find the green, but not close to the hole. Woods overcooks and iron long and left, and it settles next to the grandstand.

10:54: Thomas kicks in his third birdie of the opening nine, and he’s tied for the lead and looking totally in control. McIlroy pars to stay -1.

10:51: And Tiger pours it in! That was a heck of a par. He even smiled at that one. He’s still +2.

10:47: Woods from the left trees, 70 yards away. And the shot clips a limb…and lands next to cup! Wow that was almost a disaster, but instead it coziest past to about 7 feet. That’s for a par save.

10:45: He hits a rising bullet that escape the trees…only to hook hard and re-enter the trouble farther down the fairway. Thomas and McIlroy find the green inside 20 feet for birdies. And now, another Tiger escape shot coming.

10:43: Woods has a gap in the trees, and he’s going to try a tough escape shot that reaches the green. Buckle up.

10:39: Thomas rips one up the chute, and Woods, also with driver, hits it into he trees left of the fairway. That one looks like punch-out, but we’ll see how it’s lying.

10:37: On the par-4 15th, Rory, swinging driver, finds the right side of the fairway. That one was smoked.

10:32: …and he come up short as well. He taps for par. Looks like pars all around here.

10:30: Rory’s putt trundles down the slope but comes up about 5 feet short. JT leaves his birdie 3 feet short..and now Tiger…

10:27: Woods and Thomas are safely on this par 4, but outside 30 feet. Rory from 115 yards, with a little tree trouble…and it’s a flyer that stays on the green, maybe 30 feet above the hole. No great birdie looks from the group here.

10:25: On 14, McIlroy misses the fairway to the left, in another patch of snarly rough. JT and Tiger are OK.

10:18: And Tiger misses it on the high side. Safely in for par, though. Rory drops it from 12 feet for his first birdie.

10:16: JT blasts from the sand to tap-in range. Woods next…

10:12: On the par-3 13th, Woods knocks one to about 15 for a good look at birdie. Rory finishes with twirl and his ball settles about 10 feet away. JT misses the green.

10:09: JT drains it to drop to -2. Woods gets back to +2.

10:03: Woods with a wedge in hand…and he stuffs it to about a foot! Kick-in birdie approaching. JT will have about 5 feet, Rory 12.

9:59: On 12, all 3 guys hit driver and all find the short grass. Woods needed a fairway there.

9:54: Tiger’s left-to-right putt breaks away at the end…and that’s a bogey-double bogey start for Woods. Rory meanwhile birdies to get back to even. JT also birdies to get to -1.

9:51: Tiger from the drop zone, knocks it to about 10 feet. He’ll have that for another bogey.

9:49: Tiger’s second from the deep rough comes out soft and short and it might’ve dropped in a pond. A bad start gets worse.

9:45: All three guys hit less than driver off the tee and Tiger misses the fairway left. Back to the deep stuff.

9:41: Woods from 9 feet for bogey .. and he drains it. Bogey for Tiger, bogey for Rory, par for Thomas. On to 11.

9:40: Woods for par…and he starts walking after it as soon as he hit. Comes up well short. That’s left for bogey. This is messy start for Tiger. Meanwhile, McIlroy misses his par and taps for bogey.

9:38: From the front bunker, Rory hits a zipper that scares the flag but backs up to about 15 feet. He’ll have that for a par saver.

9:35: Woods knocks his 3rd onto the front of the green, but he’s going to have about 30-40 feet to save a par. Meanwhile, up ahead, Mickelson managed to save a par. No. 10 looks like it has some teeth: the hole has produced 14 bogeys and 10 pars so far.

9:32: McIlroy takes rip from the deep rough and comes up short — his ball is in one of the many deep bunkers at Bellerive.

9:30: Woods from 217 yards from the deep rough on this par 4 and tree-trouble in front of him…and he takes a half-wedge and punches it back to the fairway. Nothing else he could do there.

9:27: …and he take a lash with the driver, but his shot also drifts right into the deep rough. The feature group is underway at Bellerive.

9:25: Thomas is up first, hitting driver…and he splits the fairway. Rory is next: another driver, and it leaks into the right rough. And now Woods…

9:22: Phil hacks out, and his shot settles in the right rough, 70 yards short. Early trouble. Meanwhile, a massive crowd on No. 10 greets Tiger, Rory and JT.

9:18: Teeing off on No. 10, Mickelson blows his shot into the rough well left of the fairway on the par 4. And so it begins.

9:15: TV showed a lot of Tiger’s warm-up session this morning. If I had to describe it in three words, it would be “a warm-up session.” Everything seems fine. He’s heading to the tee and off soon with Rory and JT.

8:30: Gooood morning, golf fans! The sun is out, the rain is gone and players are on the course at the PGA Championship. We’ll get the blog rolling at 9:15 ET with two power groups: Phil Mickelson-Jason Day-Keegan Bradley (9:01 ET) and Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy-Justin Thomas (9:23). See you shortly.