10 notes to know from Round 1
Justin Ray gives 10 interesting notes and stats from the first round of the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park
1. Jason Day opened with a bogey-free 65 and is tied for the lead after day one at TPC Harding Park. It was the 11th bogey-free round in the majors for Day, the most of any player since 2010. Day was ranked third in the field Thursday in strokes gained tee to green; he’s averaging nearly 2 full strokes gained over the field tee-to-green over his last 13 rounds played.
2. Brendon Todd also shot 65, making this the first time in his career he has led or co-led after any round of a major championship. Todd has now led or co-led following three rounds in his last five PGA Tour starts. Todd made 129’6” worth of putts in Thursday’s opening round, fifth-most of any player in the field.
3. In his bid for a third consecutive PGA Championship win, Brooks Koepka shot an opening round 66. Koepka is now a combined 74-under-par in major championships since the beginning of 2016, a staggering 52 strokes better than any other player in that span. Koepka is the leader in strokes gained per round at the PGA Championship over the last forty years, averaging more than 2.6 per round in his career.
4. The field scoring average Thursday was 71.12, the lowest ever in the opening round of the PGA Championship. The early wave had it easier in round one, with a scoring average of 70.67, nearly a full stroke less than the late tee times. Ten of the eleven rounds of 66 or lower on Thursday came from the earlier half of the draw.
5. Xander Schauffele shot 66 on Thursday, his seventh career round of 66 or better in the majors. Since 2017, only Koepka (9) and Jordan Spieth (8) have recorded more such rounds. In 11 previous major championship starts, Schauffele has finished sixth or better on five occasions.
6. Tiger Woods shot 68 on Thursday, his lowest first round score in a major in six years. For Woods, it was the 100th round in the 60s in his illustrious major championship career. This is the 14th time in Woods’ career he has started a major with a score of 68 or lower; he went on to win 5 of the previous 13 times and finished outside the top-ten only once.
7. Justin Rose shot 66 despite only hitting four fairways in his first round. It tied the fewest number of fairways hit in a round of 66 or lower by any player in the last 20 years. Rose was just one shot off his career-best first round score in a major; he shot 65 to open up the U.S. Open last year at Pebble Beach.
8. 2010 PGA Champion Martin Kaymer made more than 160 feet of putts Thursday, a career-high in any single PGA Tour round. Kaymer, who has not won worldwide since the 2014 U.S. Open, had a putt for 65 on his final hole. Had he made it he would have shot his lowest opening round score worldwide in more than 1,200 days.
9. The 8th hole at TPC Harding Park played as the most difficult on the course Thursday, averaging 0.42 strokes over par. Less than 18% of the field hit the green in regulation in round one, the lowest percentage of any hole on the golf course.
10. 25 of the previous 30 major champions were at or within four strokes of the lead after the opening round. Expect the eventual winner this week to have a big second round: the Friday scoring average of the last seven PGA Champions is a brisk 65.3.
Justin Ray is the head of content at the 15th Club