Early starters flourishing at PGA Championship

Last updated 06:58 10/08/2014
Justin Rose
Getty Images
RED-HOT: Justin Rose birdied four of his first seven holes on a damp start to the third round at the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

Relevant offers


Matt Jones survives nerve-racking final round to claim Australian Open Matt Jones retains Australian Open lead, Jordan Spieth three behind Daniel Pearce rapt with his second round charge at the Australian Open Ashburton professional Daniel Pearce climbs leaderboard at the Australian Open Adam Scott's putting woes plunge him out of contention at Australian Open Waikato well-placed to defend men's national interprovincial title Lydia Ko's rivals fear that she is only just getting started on LPGA Tour Local boy Matt Jones leads Australian Open with Ryan Fox the top Kiwi hope Canterbury hope history repeats to break interprovincial golf title drought Former golfer Ben Wallace's switch from sport to real estate

As overnight leader Rory McIlroy prepared for a mid-afternoon tee time at the PGA Championship on Saturday (local time), the early starters took full advantage of receptive, rain-softened conditions at Valhalla Golf Club.

Attacking the pins at every opportunity, American Brooks Koepka, Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Scotland's Marc Warren fired five-under-par 66s to rocket up the leaderboard in the year's final major, all of them finishing at five-under 208.

"It was a little easier (today) just because it was soft," the 24-year-old Koepka told reporters after racking up nine birdies and four bogeys.

"You could throw darts at the pin, they (balls) weren't spinning back or they weren't going to bounce forward. If you hit a good shot, controlled the spin, you were fine. Wherever they landed is pretty much where they stopped."

Former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who made the cut by just one shot, also made a storming start with five birdies in his first 13 holes before losing a bit of momentum over the closing stretch.

"Some parts of the golf course are really easy out there," the English world number five said after firing a six-birdie 67 to finish at four under, five strokes off McIlroy's overnight lead.

"Getting close to the pin with your irons is easy, but that's if you catch a good lie in the fairway. Still no wind out there. Whenever you get calm conditions, providing you have good lies, guys are going to go low."

Northern Irishman McIlroy, who is bidding for his fourth major crown and a third consecutive victory on the PGA Tour, was set to tee off at 3pm (7am NZ time) in the company of Australian Jason Day.


World number one McIlroy, who has produced spectacular form over the past month, seized a one-shot lead overnight after carding a second-round 67 on a soggy, ultra-long Valhalla layout.

The 25-year-old was an overwhelming favourite heading into the PGA Championship, having completed a wire-to-wire victory at last month's British Open before winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last Sunday in his next start.

So far, he has fully justified that billing in posting a 36-hole total of nine-under 133, leaving the rest of his rivals to play catch-up over the last two rounds.

Day, seeking his first major title, was tied for second overnight with veteran American Jim Furyk at eight under, with Finland's Mikko Ilonen and Americans Rickie Fowler and Ryan Palmer a further stroke back in fourth.

Ad Feedback

Fourteen players were bunched within four shots of the lead heading into the second round, including five-times major champion Phil Mickelson of the United States and England's former world number one Lee Westwood.

Conditions were expected to remain wet on Saturday with possible thunderstorms forecast for later in the day.

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

If she is able to, when do you expect Lydia Ko to win her first major?

Next year, she's so close

She's still working towards it, within three years

It may be longer than we think, within five years

The expectation might be too much, maybe never

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content