Emergency 9: PGA Championship, Round 1
August 09, 2018
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
Justin Thomas' solid approach on No. 15 at PGA Championship
Here are nine tidbits from the first round of the 100th PGA Championship gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis plays 7,316 yards to par-70.
Know Thy Enemy
These were the top-10 selected, plus one, golfers in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf game presented by SERVPRO.
Rank Player Position % Ownership 1 Justin Thomas T33 72.6 2 Dustin Johnson T5 62.34 3 Rickie Fowler 2nd 42.97 4 Brooks Koepka T33 40.48 5 Rory McIlroy T48 39.66 6 Jason Day T5 35.57 7 Jordan Spieth T62 31.25 8 Tony Finau T120 30.35 9 Justin Rose T5 29.99 10 Tommy Fleetwood T33 25.41 11 Tiger Woods T48 22.74
For the final time in August the PGA Championship tees it up as the final major of the season. After torrential rains early in the week Bellerive was playing soft tee-to-green in Round 1. The massive green complexes allow pins to be tucked and the fescue rough off the fairway are the main defenses. The hot and humid weather continues in Round 2 as Gary Woodland leads the field of 156 on six-under-par 64.
Looking to join Tiger Woods as the only player to successfully defend the Wannamaker Trophy, last week's winner Justin Thomas leads the charge this week. He blasted out of the gates with birdies on three of his first six holes heading out in 32. He only made two bogeys on his final nine but didn't add any birdies coming in with 37. Key Stat: Only made 47 feet of putts. I'd expect that to dramatically change in Round 2.
Former Kansas Jayhawk Gary Woodland sits on the perch after 18 holes as he crafted 64 (-6) to lead by one. The last two events he's played are his best two finishes on TOUR since his February victory at TPC Scottsdale. He heated up as the afternoon went on, closing with seven birdies in his final 11 holes including a back nine of 30. He'll have some history to overcome as he's never posted a top-10 result in any major.
Rickie Don't Lose That Number
Rickie Fowler showed PLENTY of signs of life last week at Firestone as he opened with 63 and also posted 65 on Saturday. He's back at it again this week as his 65 (-5) from the morning wave was the best of the bunch. There wasn't any mystery as to how he got it around on Thursday as he led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green. His 65 matches his lowest round in a major.
South African Brandon Stone jumped on to the scene when he won the Scottish Open with a final-round 60. The following week made the cut at The Open Championship but didn't factor. His T53 last week in Akron included a 66-72 weekend but I don't think that turned any heads. It can't be easy going from Fescue to Bentgrass to Zoysia in a month but his 66 suggests otherwise.
FedExCup No. 1
Gamers love a defending champion but it's hardly a surprise Dustin Johnson is second choice this week. Some gamers will probably feel a bit burned after his MC at Carnoustie but that's a bit silly. His four other events before and after have resulted in two wins and two T3 paychecks. His early lip-outs and late bogeys after missed fairways stunted a six-birdie round. His solid 67 puts him just three off the lead.
Grand Slam or Trunk Slam?
Gamers had to withstand all the ups-and-downs that have become all-too-familiar with Jordan Spieth recently during Round 1. After a double at the opening hole, the next 14 holes included 12 pars and a pair of birdies. A late bogey at the par-5 17th after a tee ball in the water was followed up by 12-foot par putt at the last. All of it adds up to 71 but he'll need to be sharper tomorrow morning if he wants to join Gary Player (1965 U.S. Open) as the second player to complete the career grand slam at Bellerive.
Finau or Later
With top-10 paydays in each of the first three majors, gamers weren't letting Tony Finau slide by this week. His momentum from another T10 last week in Akron was lost as he went out from No. 10 tee and posted 40 on his first nine holes. His 34 coming in on the front side included signs of life but he also took his second double bogey of the day. He sits No. 140 out of 156 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and No. 150 Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green. It doesn't help that his worst scoring round is Round 2 so this will be a difficult decision for gamers. I can't imagine him hitting it any worse but you never know if playing with Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk is playing on his mind. Caution.
Round 1 scoring saw 47 players post red figures as the average was 71.378 (+1.378). ... There were four bogey-free rounds led by Pat Perez (T5), Hideki Matsuyama (T16), Keegan Bradley (T32) and Emiliano Grillo (T32). ... Gary Woodland led the field with seven birdies. ... Troy Merritt, who had a foot-long blood clot removed last week, posted 71 (+1). ... Justin Rose sat out the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week with back spasms but posted 67 in Round 1. ... Louis Oosthuizen was a last-minute WD and was replaced in the field by Kelly Kraft.