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Xander Schauffele makes history and takes command of PGA Championship

Xander Schauffele shot another 62 at a major championship in Kentucky, but what else happened during the first round of the PGA Championship?

 

The first round of the 2024 PGA Championship belonged to Xander Schauffele who shot the second 62 of his major career.

Following his disappointing dip at the Wells Fargo Championship that saw him surrender a lead to Rory McIlroy, he has bounced back to take command of the second major of the year.

Below we have a summary of the day’s play at Valhalla Golf Club and the highlight shots…

So what happened? PGA Championship day one summary

The first tee shot of the 2024 PGA Championship was hit by Michael Block who played with European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald and former PGA Champion Shaun Micheel.

Unfortunately for the PGA professional who finished tied for 15th at Oak Hill in 2023, he made a quadruple bogey on his second hole to fall immediately on the back foot.

Someone with his eyes facing forward was Schauffele. The American took just 31 shots to play his opening nine and set a very early pace on five-under-par.

The World No.3 added four more birdies in his second nine to reach nine-under-par and card an almighty 62. It was the second time that Schauffele shot a 62 at a major championship, following up on his first at last year’s US Open. It was also the lowest round in PGA Championship history.

Schauffele has made 10 top 10s in major championships. He is a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour and an Olympic gold medallist, but he hasn’t yet broken through at one of golf’s big four events.

Tiger Woods was among the early starters on Thursday. Donning a pink Sun Day Red shirt, the four-time PGA Championship winner made three birdies and four bogeys on his way to a 72. It looks like more cut-chasing for the cat on Friday.

Rory McIlroy put a turbulent few weeks behind him in the first round to propel himself into contention at the place where he won his last major in 2014. Making just one bogey, McIlroy surged to a five-under 66. There was a lot of red on the leaderboard at this stage, and there was more to come.

Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala had a 65, Robert MacIntyre had a 66 and defending champion Brooks Koepka had a 67. And this was before Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm entered the fray in the afternoon wave of tee times.

It didn’t take Scheffler long to play the first hole, two shots to be precise. After splitting the fairway, the Masters champion holed his second shot for an eagle. An ominous sign if ever there was one.

pga championship first round

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Ludvig Aberg recovered from a knee injury in time for his second major appearance, but he could only match Woods’ effort of 1-over-par. Adam Scott was the same and so was Englishman Tommy Fleetwood.

Bryson DeChambeau had a good tilt at the Masters in April and the LIV Golf star got off to another good start on Thursday with a three-under-par 68.

Who had what to say?

Xander Schauffele (-9)

“I feel there’s spurts, moments in time where you feel like you can control the ball really well; you’re seeing the greens really well; you’re chipping really well. But over a prolonged period, it’s tough to upkeep high performance. Yeah, I’d say it’s very close to it if not it (the best he’s ever been).

Tiger Woods (+1)

“You can’t win a tournament unless you make the cut. That’s the whole idea is get to the weekend so that you can participate and have a chance to win.

“I’ve been on the cut number and have won tournaments, or I’ve been ahead and leading tournaments and I’ve won tournaments. But you have to get to the weekend in order to win a golf tournament.”

Rory McIlroy (-5)

“I felt like it was pretty scrappy for the most part. I don’t really feel like I left many out there. I thought I got a lot out of my game today. Some good up-and-downs, the chip-in on 6.

“I had a little bit of a scrappy part around the turn there, but overall really happy with – not really happy with how I played but at least happy with the score.”

pga championship first round

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Robert MacIntyre (-5)

“To be honest, I think it was spending some time back at home in Scotland. It’s no secret I’ve been living in America. It’s been tough. It’s not like Oban. When I go back home, it’s a lot of friends and family you get to spend time with, my nieces, everyone that’s close to me and really cares for me.

“When I’m in America, it’s just me, my girlfriend, and we’re trying to – I don’t know, trying to live as good a life as we can. But it’s difficult when we’re both so close to family and friends.

“Yeah, I got three weeks at home there and hardly touched the golf clubs, done some stupid stuff and just enjoyed myself.”

Shot of the day in the PGA Championship first round

Well, there can only be one shot of the day. Having split the fairway on hole one, Scottie Scheffler staggeringly holed his second shot of the tournament for an eagle.

Should everyone else just go home?

Shot of the day 2.0

Cameron Smith went above and beyond to save his round on the par-5 7th hole at Valhalla. On what was his 16th hole of the day, the former Open Champion found the water with his tee shot.

He took his shoes and socks off and splashed his ball out of the hazard and into the fairway. Smith made a par and signed for a solid three-under 68.

Stat of the day

Before the first round started, NCG picked out a Brooks Koepka-related statistic that emphasised his dominance at the PGA Championship

pga championship first round

Amusing broadcast moment of the day

Brian Harman had a putt for par on the 6th hole, but he backed off it for a moment to line it up. While the coverage waited for Harman to steady himself, the broadcast panned to a turtle sat enjoying the action in Louisville…

NOW READ: What is the PGA Championship playoff format?

NOW READ: How to qualify for the PGA Championship

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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