DeChambeau leads US PGA as Rahm has nightmare start-News

Jon Rahm won the Masters but struggled early in the US PGA Championship
-4 B DeChambeau (US); -3 S Scheffler (US), C Conners (Can); -2 K Bradley (US), R Fox (NZ) V Hovland (Nor)
Other Selections:+1 R McIlroy (NI), C Morikawa (US); +2 J Thomas (US), B Koepka (US), C Smith (Aus); +3 J Spieth (US); + 6 J Rahm (Spa), M Fitzpatrick (Eng)
The latest box

Bryson DeChambeau set the early pace at the US PGA Championship as the test at Oak Hill in New York state confirmed Jon Rahm’s world record.

American DeChambeau carded a four-under 66 to lead Scottie Scheffler and Corey Conners by one.

But Masters champion Rahm and England’s US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick both struggled to post six-over 76s.

Rory McIlroy, who has won the title twice, battled illness to shoot 71, one better than 2022 winner Justin Thomas.

DeChambeau, who made a big splash before going through Winged Foot – a course like Oak Hill – to win the 2020 US Open, looked good with six birdies and two bogeys in the opening round.

LIV golfers Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson – who won the tournament in 2021 – are among the founders of the inaugural tournament.

The start of the 105th US PGA Championship was delayed for one hour and 50 minutes because overnight snow covered the Rochester course, which is close to the Canadian border. But when the show started, the popular and difficult song soon turned up the heat.

Patience and poise are key at Oak Hill, and any shots that go astray make it impossible to find and keep the greens by digging the ball.

Scottie Scheffler at the US PGA Championship
Scottie Scheffler made his debut at the US PGA Championship

While many players had a disappointing day, Scheffler was the picture of calm, as he always is, and was able to look at the formidable par-70 without dropping a shot in his 67 games.

It was the first bogey-free round in a major tournament, in his 15 years, and coming on such a tough course gave the 2022 Masters champion even more excitement in his career.

“This is one of those places where you just try and stay put, make the putts you need and just keep going. I did a good job,” he said.

“I feel like my game is worthy of this kind of test. I really enjoy a tournament like this and birdies like last week. When I say that, I don’t think I can mentally handle it. playing a tournament like this every week on the Tour.”

McIlroy fought back as Rahm waved

McIlroy was the underdog in the build-up, the Northern Irishman reeling from the cut he missed at the Masters, and he continued on the course with three bogeys on the front nine.

A two-time US PGA winner, the four-time winner showed a good fight back with three birdies against one bogey to finish with a 71 to keep himself in contention – all the while sitting a little under par.

“I’m struggling with something,” McIlroy said. “But I feel better today than I did yesterday, so more water and a little rest, I’ll be fine.”

Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas at the US PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy (L) and Justin Thomas both found it difficult at Oak Hill

It was a disappointment for Rahm, though the Spaniard looked like he was out of sorts as he carded a 76 to leave him thinking more expensive than winning the title.

England’s Fitzpatrick, last year’s US PGA finalist, also struggled with a 76 as he failed to get a birdie.

American Thomas only made a few mistakes, but he was three shots behind as he finished in two, while his best friend Jordan Spieth was another one who let his heat boil over at times during his 73.

Spieth was in doubt for the tournament with a wrist injury, but showed no real signs that it was bothering him as he made a difficult start to claim the major that had eluded him thus far and complete a career Grand Slam. .

Battle of Rochester

Canadian Conners and 2011 US PGA champion Keegan Bradley are both iron players so it wasn’t too surprising to see them both challenge each other on the course.

Norwegian star Viktor Hovland has come closest in the past two titles and joined Bradley in two games.

New Zealander Ryan Fox – the son of All Blacks rugby union legend Grant – has battled pneumonia and had a sleepless night after the birth of his second child in recent weeks but also scored 68.

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