Reuters

Jimmy Walker's 65 sets US PGA Championship pace, Jason Day and Henrik Stenson lurk at Baltusrol

Walker's 65 sets US PGA Championship pace, Day and Stenson lurk at Baltusrol
By Reuters

29/07/2016 at 17:23

Jimmy Walker shrugged off some recent struggles to shoot a five-under-par 65 and claim the first-round lead in the US PGA Championship at a hot, steamy Baltusrol Golf Club on Thursday.

Major winners were close behind.

Lurking in striking range was world number one and defending champion Jason Day who, despite not setting foot on the course until Wednesday, patiently plotted his way through the 7,328-yard layout to shoot 68.

Open champion Henrik Stenson was even closer after a birdie at the par-five 18th for 67.

Despite lively afternoon winds and the wear and tear on the greens for the later starters, twice major winner Martin Kaymer of Germany posted a 66 to join Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and Englishman Ross Fisher in a tie for second.

Walker, who has missed four cuts in his last eight events including the U.S. Open and Open, found his form at the year's last major.

"I just haven't been scoring, I haven't been making the 15, 18-footers you need to make to start running up the leaderboard," said Walker who won three times in 2014 and twice last year but has just three top-10s from 19 events this season.

The 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup player made good use of his putter on Thursday, making four birdies over his first nine after starting at 10 and gaining two more strokes at the first and seventh to take a one-shot lead.

Fisher birdied the two closing par-fives for a big finish while Grillo was boosted by back-to-back birdies from the 14th.

Grillo, who won the Frys.com Open to start his season, said he gained confidence from his tie for 12th at this month's Open.

"Playing well anywhere in the world, it helps your confidence," Grillo, 23, told reporters. "Bringing that into this tournament, one of the biggest four on the planet, it's a big boost."

Day's preparation was disrupted by a bug he caught from his children and an emergency trip to the hospital with his wife who had a bad allergic reaction on Tuesday night.

But the Australian showed no ill effects from his quick study of Baltusrol.

"I played good today. Drove it very nicely and hit a lot of good iron shots," Day said.

"To be able to go out there and hit it exactly where I'm going and see the shot and what I need to do and actually execute it was exciting for me. Really positive stuff going into the next three rounds."

Jason Day - 2016 US PGA Championship

Jason Day - 2016 US PGA ChampionshipReuters

Day's playing competitors Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson did not fare as well.

Twice PGA winner McIlroy struggled with his putting and shot a four-over 74 without a single birdie.

Mickelson, who won the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol, was also four-over after a bogey on his 11th hole but revived with three birdies in a five-hole stretch from his 12th to card a 71.

"To come out and hit shots like I hit those first 11 holes was very disappointing," said the American, who waged a sensational duel with Stenson at Royal Troon, shooting 65 in finishing runner-up at the Open.

"However, I'm proud that I hung in there, fought and got three back coming in. If I go out tomorrow and just play a good round, I think I can shoot mid-60s and get back in it."

Stenson's playing competitors -- the season's other major winners -- had mixed results.

Masters champion Danny Willett birdied the last for 71, while U.S. Open winner Dustin Johnson stumbled to four bogeys and a pair of double bogeys in his 77.

Thirty-five players broke par but nobody in the group of Jordan Spieth (70), Bubba Watson (71) and Sergio Garcia (71).

Leaderboard

1 Jimmy Walker -5 65

T2 Emiliano Grillo -4 66

T2 Ross Fisher -4 66

T2 Martin Kaymer -4 66

T5 Harris English -3 67

T5 James Hahn -3 67

T5 Andy Sullivan -3 67

T5 Henrik Stenson -3 67

T9 K.J. Choi -2 68

T9 David Lingmerth -2 68

T9 Rickie Fowler -2 68

T9 Scott Hend -2 68

T9 Brooks Koepka -2 68

T9 Robert Streb -2 68

T9 Vaughn Taylor -2 68

T9 Jason Day -2 68

T9 Jhonattan Vegas -2 68

T9 John Senden -2 68

T9 Russell Henley -2 68

T9 Louis Oosthuizen -2 68

T21 Bradley Dredge -1 69

T21 Jon Curran -1 69

T21 Hideki Matsuyama -1 69

T21 Chris Wood -1 69

T21 Victor Dubuisson -1 69

T21 Justin Thomas -1 69

T21 Paul Casey -1 69

T21 Lee Westwood -1 69

T21 Jamie Donaldson -1 69

T21 Gregory Bourdy -1 69

T21 Colt Knost -1 69

T21 Rich Beem -1 69

T21 Steve Stricker -1 69

T21 Danny Lee -1 69

T21 Webb Simpson -1 69

T36 Jason Kokrak E 70

T36 Brian Stuard E 70

T36 Aaron Baddeley E 70

T36 Branden Grace E 70

T36 Soren Kjeldsen E 70

T36 Adam Scott E 70

T36 Bill Haas E 70

T36 Yuta Ikeda E 70

T36 Alexander Noren E 70

T36 Andrew Johnston E 70

T36 Thorbjorn Olesen E 70

T36 Jordan Spieth E 70

T36 Russell Knox E 70

T36 Kiradech Aphibarnrat E 70

T36 Justin Rose E 70

T36 Patrick Reed E 70

T36 William McGirt E 70

T36 Kyle Reifers E 70

T36 Daniel Summerhays E 70

T55 Patton Kizzire 1 71

T55 Freddie Jacobson 1 71

T55 Jason Bohn 1 71

T55 Daniel Berger 1 71

T55 Tyrrell Hatton 1 71

T55 Kevin Kisner 1 71

T55 Zach Johnson 1 71

T55 Padraig Harrington 1 71

T55 Marcus Fraser 1 71

T55 Kevin Na 1 71

T55 Phil Mickelson 1 71

T55 Jamie Lovemark 1 71

T55 Hideto Tanihara 1 71

T55 Ryan Palmer 1 71

T55 Rob Labritz 1 71

T55 Jason Dufner 1 71

T55 Francesco Molinari 1 71

T55 Brendan Steele 1 71

T55 Sergio Garcia 1 71

T55 Bubba Watson 1 71

T55 Marc Leishman 1 71

T55 Thomas Pieters 1 71

T55 Danny Willett 1 71

T55 Ryan Moore 1 71

T55 Young-han Song 1 71

T55 Si Woo Kim 1 71

T81 Kristoffer Broberg 2 72

T81 Rafa Cabrera Bello 2 72

T81 Billy Hurley III 2 72

T81 Rikard Karlberg 2 72

T81 Roberto Castro 2 72

T81 Omar Uresti 2 72

T81 Greg Chalmers 2 72

T81 George Coetzee 2 72

T81 Nicolas Colsaerts 2 72

T81 Ryan Helminen 2 72

T81 Michael Block 2 72

T81 Harold Varner III 2 72

T81 Johan Kok 2 72

T81 Kevin Chappell 2 72

T81 Scott Piercy 2 72

T81 Rich Berberian, Jr. 2 72

T81 Matthew Fitzpatrick 2 72

T81 Billy Horschel 2 72

T81 Luke Donald 2 72

T81 Y.E. Yang 2 72

T81 Shane Lowry 2 72

T81 Byeong Hun An 2 72

T81 Thongchai Jaidee 2 72

T81 Joost Luiten 2 72

T81 Ben Polland 2 72

T81 Cameron Tringale 2 72

T107 Jeunghun Wang 3 73

T107 Matt Dobyns 3 73

T107 Ernie Els 3 73

T107 Brandt Snedeker 3 73

T107 Keegan Bradley 3 73

T107 Rod Perry 3 73

T107 David Muttitt 3 73

T107 Smylie Kaufman 3 73

T107 Zac Blair 3 73

T107 Gary Woodland 3 73

T107 Anirban Lahiri 3 73

T107 Charl Schwartzel 3 73

T107 Peter Malnati 3 73

T120 Chris Kirk 4 74

T120 Brian Gaffney 4 74

T120 Darren Clarke 4 74

T120 Vijay Singh 4 74

T120 John Daly 4 74

T120 Matt Jones 4 74

T120 Rory McIlroy 4 74

T120 David Toms 4 74

T120 Matt Kuchar 4 74

T120 Jim Furyk 4 74

T120 Graeme McDowell 4 74

T120 Mitch Lowe 4 74

T120 Bryce Molder 4 74

T133 Mark Brown 5 75

T133 J.B. Holmes 5 75

T133 Charley Hoffman 5 75

T133 Jonas Blixt 5 75

T133 Fabian Gomez 5 75

T133 Bernd Wiesberger 5 75

T133 Kevin Streelman 5 75

T140 Wyatt Worthington II 6 76

T140 Joe Summerhays 6 76

T140 Rocco Mediate 6 76

T143 Tommy Sharp 7 77

T143 Josh Speight 7 77

T143 Troy Merritt 7 77

T143 Shaun Micheel 7 77

T143 Tony Finau 7 77

T143 Jim Herman 7 77

T143 Dustin Johnson 7 77

T143 Soomin Lee 7 77

T143 K.T. Kim 7 77

T152 James Morrison 8 78

T152 Rick Schuller 8 78

T154 Brandon Stone 9 79

T154 Brad Ott 9 79

156 Brad Lardon 13 83

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