Golf’s fourth and final major of the season has a way of sneaking up on everyone. It’s not been a long since the British Open took place, and some are already looking toward the Ryder Cup. Better yet, their focus is on another sport entirely. That is what the PGA Championship is up against. In addition to that, it looks like the tournament, if the first round is anything to judge it by, is going to be ruling out most of the major names that we have all come to know and love.
The reason? There is only one player that has won more than one major before that is within five shots of the lead after round one at Bellerive Country Club. The 100th edition of this fourth major, though, still has a lot of intrigue to go around. The early pace setter on Thursday was the flamboyantly popular Rickie Fowler. The Oklahoma State alum came out and shot a -5 65 to by making six birdies and just one bogey to lay down the marker.
It looked as if he would have the lead going into Friday for quite a while, but it was not meant to be due to the excellent play of Gary Woodland. The Kansas man was brilliant after the eighth hole, making seven bogeys from them on to card a 64 and take the lead. Trailing two shots behind him are both Brandon Stone, the South African who has came close to major glory before, and Zach Johnson. Johnson is the only man we mentioned earlier that has won more than one major in the past.
The intrigue of this tournament is going to be whether these guys can seal the deal or not while the major winners come from behind. A lot of pressure is going to be on Fowler, who has been in this spot many times before. He’s continually been questioned about his credentials to win a major, and this is a ripe opportunity for him considering not only his score but the score of others as well. Dustin Johnson, back from injury now, is one of the others within striking distance at -3. Justin Rose is alongside him, with quite a few others as well. Either of those are in great position to claw back the advantage and possibly run away with it. Open Champion Francesco Molinari is at -2, while Tiger Woods shot even par, just like Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, and Bubba Watson did. Jordan Spieth is at +1. Can any of these big names get it going and apply pressure? That will be the question of the day on Friday and Saturday in St. Louis.