US PGA Championship - Day One

Follow all the action from the 99th edition of the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Golf Club

Ruaidhrí Croke Fri, Aug 11
 
LIVE: US PGA Championship - Day One

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  • 14:02
    Hello and welcome to the Irish Times live blog of the 99th US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. John O’Sullivan here and I’ll be taking you through the action until early tonight at which point Ruaidhri Croke will showcase his impeccable timing as he informs you of events in North Carolina until the close of play.
  • 14:03
    Given that play has been underway for about an hour and a half. I'll conduct a whistlestop tour through the things we normally provide. First the tee times.  
  • 14:04

    1st tee.

     

    12.20 Rich Berberian Jr., Grayson Murray, Peter Uihlein

    12.30 Adam Rainaud, Tony Finau, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par)

    12.40 Young-Han Song (Kor), Dave McNabb, Charles Howell III

    12.50 Wesley Bryan, Sung Kang (Kor), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)

    13.00 Francesco Molinari (It), William McGirt, Jim Herman

    13.10 Gary Woodland, Andy Sullivan (Eng), Kyle Stanley

    13.20 Vijay Singh (Fij), Rich Beem, John Daly

    13.30 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Danny Willett (Eng), J.B. Holmes

    13.40 Thomas Pieters (Bel), Xander Schauffele, Rodney Pampling (Aus)

    13.50 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Brendan Steele, Hudson Swafford

    14.00 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Cameron Smith (Aus), Brandon Stone (Rsa)

    14.10 Greg Gregory, K.T. Kim (Kor), James Hahn

    14.20 Richard Sterne (Rsa), Ryan Vermeer, Chris Stroud

    17.35 Matt Dobyns, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn), Lucas Glover

    17.45 Jason Kokrak, Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Mike Small

    17.55 Branden Grace (Rsa), Pat Perez, Thomas Bjorn (Den)

    18.05 Adam Scott (Aus), Luke Donald (Eng), Webb Simpson

    18.15 Billy Horschel, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Si Woo Kim (Kor)

    18.25 Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker

    18.35 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm (Spa)

    18.45 Matt Kuchar, Chris Kirk, Justin Rose (Eng)

    18.55 Daniel Berger, Jim Furyk, Kevin Kisner

    18.05 Ross Fisher (Eng), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Ryan Moore

    18.15 Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Smith (Eng), Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)

    18.25 Alex Beach, Kevin Na, Sean O'Hair

    18.35 Chris Moody (Eng), Jamie Lovemark, Luke List

     

    10th tee.

    12.25 Shane Lowry (Irl), Stuart Deane, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa)

    12.35 Scott Hebert, Alex Noren (Swe), Russell Knox (Sco)

    12.45 Ernie Els (Rsa), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Ian Poulter (Eng)

    12.55 Daniel Summerhays, Robert Streb, Chris Wood (Eng)

    13.05 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed

    13.15 Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Paul Casey (Eng)

    13.25 Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia (Spa), Jordan Spieth

    13.35 Dustin Johnson, Jason Day (Aus), Henrik Stenson (Swe)

    13.45 Padraig Harrington (Irl), Keegan Bradley, Davis Love III

    13.55 Zach Johnson, Lee Westwood (Eng), Charley Hoffman

    14.05 David Lingmerth (Swe), Scott Brown, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel)

    14.15 Scott Hend (Aus), Kenny Pigman, Andrew Johnston (Eng)

    14.25 Brian Smock, Patrick Rodgers, Kelly Kraft

    17.30 David Muttitt, Bud Cauley, Graham DeLaet (Can)

    17.40 Rod Perry, Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Yuta Ikeda (Jpn)

    17.50 Joost Luiten (Ned), Paul Claxton, Russell Henley

    18.00 Patrick Cantlay, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Soren Kjeldsen (Den)

    18.10 Y.E. Yang (Kor), Shaun Micheel, Omar Uresti

    18.20 Danny Lee (Nzl), Anirban Lahiri (Ind), Marc Leishman (Aus)

    18.30 Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Kevin Chappell, Mackenzie Hughes (Can)

    18.40 Steve Stricker, Brian Harman, Jonas Blixt (Swe)

    18.50 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Adam Hadwin (Can), D.A. Points

    18.00 Bill Haas, Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Martin Laird (Sco)

    18.10 Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Alexander Levy (Fra), Jamie Broce

    18.20 JJ Wood, Ryan Fox (Nzl), Haotong Li (Chn)

    18.30 Cody Gribble, Jaysen Hansen, Chez Reavie

     

  • 14:04
  • 14:09
    Ireland's Shane Lowry is one over after five holes. Staring on the 10th he didn't have a par until the 13th, bogeying the 10th and 12th and birdieing the 11th. He's settled down a bit now.  
  • 14:09
    Right pin positions for those of you who like to know such things.  
  • 14:09
  • 14:11
    There is nothing worse than trying to play catch-up when you've been off doing other work and get to this blog a couple of nanoseconds before it's due to launch. Fear not though I'll get there.  
  • 14:13
  • 14:17

    Lowry (even) with a second birdie of his on the par five, 15th, his sixth hole to back on an even keel, litterally.


    Padraig Harrington (level), also started on the 10th and he's pencilled in a par.  

  • 14:17
    England's Paul Casey leads the way on two under.  
  • 14:22
    Casey's now been joined at the top by countryman Chris Wood (-2).  
  • 14:22
    There are 11 players under par.  
  • 14:22
  • 14:23
  • 14:27
    Graeme McDowell tees off the 10th at 6.0, Irish time and Rory McIlroy, the joint favourite with British Open winner Jordan Spieth, starts at 6.35pm, from the first.  
  • 14:40
  • 14:43
    There is a four way tie at the top on two under Casey, Wood, last week's winner of the WGC in Akron, Ohio, Hideki Matsuyama and American Jim Herman. It's Herman I'm going to dwell on for a moment.  
  • 14:46

    He's a 39-year-old one time assistant professional at Donald Trump's Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey. When herman won the Shell Houston Open the current POTUS, Trump had this to say about his former employee.


     

  • 14:48

    "That's a character - the kind of character - you want. Somebody who can handle the pressure.

    Herman the self-taught scrambler who wouldn't give up the game and Trump first came together in 2006. Mickie Gallagher, a mutual friend and the head pro at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, hired Herman as one of his assistants. Soon enough, Herman got a call that the boss was headed over to play and wanted him to join the foursome.

    "I don't know what it is; when I play with him, I usually play pretty well," Herman recalled. "But yeah, he's been a big supporter of mine. He helped me early on in my years financially and maybe just a little shot in the arm of confidence."

    Trump said spotting that kind of talent was a no-brainer, especially as far as Herman hit his tee shots. He backed up his claim by staking the then-struggling 28-year-old to enough money to take a shot on the Web.com Tour

    "I play with many people. Lots of them think they're going to be pros, but you and I know that's not usually the case.  

  • 14:48
  • 14:50
    Casey moves into the outright lead with his third birdie in five holes starting at the 10th. Lowry (level) and Harrington (level) are well placed having played eight and three holes respectively.  
  • 14:50
    US Open champion Brooks Koepka (-1) joins a host of player in red figures.  
  • 15:07
  • 15:29
    Koepka has hit a spectator, who it appears while being laid out, is okay, so to speak but there's no doubt that it has spooked the American somewhat.  
  • 15:29
  • 15:30
    Garcia is in the water at the 16th.  
  • 15:34

    The Spaniard (-1) will have about a 30 footer for bogey. The closing three holes at Quail Hollow are known as the Green Mile and they have already wreaked havoc today.  


       

  • 15:35
    Garcia misses his bogey putt and drops from one under to one over. He's the third player so far to double bogey the 16th. Incidentally Koepka hit a marshall rather than spectator, not that it makes much a difference.  
  • 15:35
  • 15:39
  • 15:39
    The big hitting American Gary Woodland (8) eads the way with Paul Casey (7) on three under, one clear of several players including Tony Finau and David Lingmerth. Lowry (9) and Harrington (5) are on level par.  
  • 15:40
    Spieth (level), Garcia (+1) and Koepka (level) played the 16th, their seventh, in a combined four over par.  
  • 15:46
    All three players in the Spieth/Garcia/Koepka group have hit the 236 yard, par three 17th, the first to do so today. Lowry (level) is through 11 holes, having started on the 10th, Harrington (level) playing his sixth, the 15th.  
  • 15:47
  • 15:47
  • 15:50
    Garcia (+2) watches his six foot par putt on the 17th, horseshoe out. Spieth and Koepka both make pars to remain on level par.  
  • 15:50
  • 15:57
    Lowry (level) had moved to one under for the tournament with a birdie on the 10th, his first but dropped a shot at the next hole. Harrington (level), starting on the 10th, has enjoyed five straight pars and the Irish par are in a tie for 13th place at the moment.  
  • 15:58
  • 16:00
    Garcia (+2) in the horrors on the 18th. He split the fairway with his driver but pulls his approach into the stream to the left of the 18th green. One hand off the club and a look of disgust. He's just gone double bogey, bogey for his last two holes and there's more pain to come on the Green Mile by the looks of it.  
  • 16:01

    You want to know more about Quail Hollow's Green Mile, the 16th, 17th and 18th holes.  


    Okay so.  

  • 16:01

    16 is a massive, 506-yard par 4 — one of two par-4 holes on the course that measure 500+ yards. Prior to changes that were made by designer Tom Fazio in 2013, No. 16 — while still difficult — was a relatively straightforward hole. Now, the green has been moved some 80 yards left to truly bring the water into play on the dogleg hole.  

    The trouble starts right from the tee. There's no room to miss/bail out on the left, as the fairway pretty much drops off down a steep embankment into the water. Even if a player is lucky enough to have his ball somehow hold up in the rough instead of meeting a watery grave, the second shot will be no bargain with the ball well above the player's feet. Anything left that isn't wet surely turns this into a three-shot par-4 hole.

    Based on the wind, club selection for even a perfect drive will be a challenge. From the fairway, players will most likely be hitting a mid-to-long iron into a green surrounded on three sides by water. You can't miss left, you can't miss right and you can't miss long.

  • 16:03

    17: If players get through the 16th unscathed, the work is far from over. With a major championship on the line, you're unlikely to find a more intimidating par 3  than  the 223-yard 17th.



    The signature hole at Quail Hollow features a near-island green with a carry over water of nearly 195 yards. There's plenty of room to bail out right of the green, but that could bring a whole bunch of potential nightmares into play for the second shot should there be a lousy lie in the rough or a spot in the greenside bunker. Players will be hitting the next shot staring at the water surrounding the green. Anything that comes into the green too hot and you can probably kiss that ball goodbye.



    There are so many spots on this green for great hole locations. Expect to see a couple of sucker pins hugged tight near the water on the left. And if the wind gets whipping at all during the tournament, you can be sure that No. 17 will be weighing heavy on the minds of the players long before they reach the tee.

  • 16:06
  • 16:09

    18: The finishing hole at Quail Hollow is one of the prettiest you'll find anywhere. It can also  cost you a tournament — or in this case a major — if you don't give it your undivided attention.



    In 2003, when 2001 PGA Champion David Toms won the inaugural Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow (formerly the Wachovia Championship), he did so despite making a disastrous quadruple-bogey 8 on this hole. Luckily for Toms, he had a healthy six-stroke lead playing the final hole and still managed to top runner-up Vijay Singh by two.



    The point? No lead is safe on this difficult  494-yard hole.



    There's a nasty fairway bunker on the right said and a meandering creek runs up the entire left side of the hole. After hitting a pinpoint drive down the middle, the second shot needs to be precise with hazards on both sides — and in the back — of the severely sloped, deep green.



    The fairway gets tighter and tighter as players get closer to the green.



    There's no let up on the final three holes at Quail Hollow. Whoever navigates the Green Mile best on PGA Championship on Sunday will no doubt be a worthy champion.

  • 16:11
    Bad news for the Irish players on the course. Lowry (+1) has dropped a shot on the fourth, his 13th and Harrington (+2) suffered a double bogey on the 15th, the reason for which appears to be his second shot, which went to parts unknown and required a penalty drop.  
  • 16:11
  • 16:13
    Donald Trump's favourite former golf employee Jim Herman joins Gary Woodland at the top of the leaderboard at three under.  
  • 16:14
    Harrington about to enter the Green Mile. Wonder if the superstitious offer silent novenas to the golfing gods?  
  • 16:16

    Bubba Watson and Thomas Pieters are both having opening rounds to forget, five over after nine holes having started on the 10th and first holes respectively.  

  • 16:17
    Garcia's (+4) visit to the water on the 18th cost him another two shots; wet twice in three holes for the US Masters champion over the Green Mile holes.  
  • 16:21
    Right you want to know why the last three holes are called the Green Mile..........drumroll, it is because that the 16th, 17th and 18th holes measure 1,760 yards which is..........yes you've guessed it, a mile in length.  
  • 16:25
    Garcia (+5) was one under playing the 16th, his seventh, hole. He's shot six over for his last four holes, double bogey, bogey, double bogey, bogey. Spieth (+1) also bogeys the 524 yard par four, first, his 10th. Koepka (level) makes par.  
  • 16:26
  • 16:27
  • 16:34

    Xander Schauffele, who finished tied fifth at the US Open and won the Greenbrier Classic, has birdied three holes in a row from the sixth through the eighth and is one under. First PGA appearance.

  • 16:37
    Lowry (+2) drops another on the fifth, his 14th hole.  
  • 16:37
  • 16:39
    Padraig Harrington (+6) fans look away. He's just gone double (15th), double (16th), double (17th) to slip from level to six over.  
  • 16:55
    Koepka (-1) chips in from just off the front of the third green (75 feet) to move back into red figures.  
  • 16:56
    So far over the Green Mile (16,17, 18), 36 bogeys or worse and just two birdies.  
  • 16:59
    Lowry (+2) is still five behind the leader Gary Woordland while Padraig Harrington did manage to par the 18th, his ninth hole but at six over with a trio of consecutive double bogeys, the 2008 US PGA champion got a lot of work to do to salvage anything tangible from the round.  
  • 17:00
  • 17:06
    STAT ATTACK:  All but one of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking arrived in North Carolina’s capital city of Charlotte this week for a final shot at 2017 Major Championship glory, with only world number 36 Brandt Snedeker missing through injury.
  • 17:14
    Koepka (+1) plus one bogeys the par three so in the battle of this season's major champions it Koepka (+1, US Open) and Spieth (+1 British Open) tied with Garcia (+5, US Masters) trailing.  
  • 17:18
    Rory McIlroy, the joint favourite and course record holder (61, 2015) will be out in about an hour and 20 minutes. McIlroy a two-time winner at Quail Hollow, tees off at 6.35pm, Irish time.  
  • 17:20
    Lookee, Lookee, the 1991 US PGA champion John Daly is one under through 15 holes.  
  • 17:20
  • 17:24
    Lowry bogeys the ninth, his 18th, to sign for a three over par, 74. Level at the turn he made four bogeys and just a single bogey coming home.
  • 17:25

    Did you know:  European Tour Members have won five of the past nine editions of this Championship – Rory McIlroy (2015 and 2012), Martin Kaymer (2010), Y.E. Yang (2009) and Padraig Harrington (2008).

  • 17:26
  • 17:28
    Garcia (+4) and Koepka (-1) birdie the hardest hole on the front nine, the fifth, but it's a bogey for Spieth (+2) as he three putts.  
  • 17:33
    Harrington (+5) makes birdie on the third hole, his 12th. It's a start.  
  • 17:34
  • 17:37
  • 17:41
    Okay in honour of 39 year old former Donald Trump employee Jim Herman taking the lead at Quail Hollow on four under after 15 holes. Here you go
  • 17:41
  • 17:45

    Over the past 15 months, significant changes have been made to the course in preparation for this event, with the first and second being bulldozed to be replaced by two new holes – a longer, dogleg right, par-four first and a par three second hole. The fifth has been shortened from a par five to a par four while the 11th  has been extended with some bunkers added.

     

    It is all part of the long-term vision of Tom Fazio, who redesigned the course in 1997 and 2003. The course was originally designed by George Cobb and also received some modifications from Arnold Palmer in 1986.

  • 17:49
    There are 16 players under par and what most have in common is that that bomb the ball.  
  • 17:50
    Gary Woodland moves to four under and a share of the lead.  
  • 17:56
    Spieth (+3) drops another shot on the fifth.  
  • 17:57
    Harrington (+5) has five holes to play, having started on the 10th. Lowry signed for a three over, 74. McDowell tees off in four minutes and McIlroy is off at 6.35pm.  
  • 17:58
    There are 81 players currently on the course and 58 are over par.  
  • 18:00
    Hideki Matsuyama (70) had six birdies and five bogeys in an eventful round following up on his victory in Akron last week.  
  • 18:01
    Koepka (-2) birdies the seventh, his 16th, so too Spieth (+2).  
  • 18:04
    Americans Grayson Murray (68) and Tony Finau (69) have posted the two leading scores so far in the first round.  
  • 18:11
    Jim Herman bogeys his 17th hole of the day. I'm taking back that Herman's Hermits musical tribute.  
  • 18:12
  • 18:16
    US Open champion Koepka (-3) has birdied four of hislast six holes to cliam a share of the lead. Spieth (+1) has back to back birdies. Garcia (+4) has played his last seven holes on one under.  
  • 18:16
    Patrick Reed (69) will be happy with his effort.  
  • 18:18
    It's nearly time folks for the moment that you've been waiting for over the last five hourse or so. No I don't mean McIlroy's tee time but the arrival of Ruaidhri Croke, who'll be taking over on the blog. It's only a few minutes away. He'll be there to guide you from McIlroy's first shot to last and anyone else capturing the headlines over the next several hours.    
  • 18:19
  • 18:23
    Harrington's (+6) playing the seventh, his 16th and is currently in a tie for 73rd place with 93 players on the course.  
  • 18:23
  • 18:26
    Currently 12 players at or within one stroke of the lead as the morning crowd finishes. Can someone post a lower score this afternoon?
  • 18:26
  • 18:27
    Right thank you very much for your company. Ruaidhri's completed his stretching and he's been bombing it on the range. See y'all tomorrow.  
  • 18:33

    Good evening everybody and welcome. Unfortunately the TV coverage this week is a long way behind the level set by Sky Sports but, thankfully, you have up to date coverage from us for the whole week.

    Thanks to John for the first half of coverage. I'm Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll now be guiding you through the rest of the evening until the close of play in the early hours.

    And a good evening it certainly should be. Over at the first Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler have just teed off!  

    Meanwhile, at the 18th Jordan Spieth has finished with two birdies and a par in his last three holes to turn a 74 into a 72 and one over par. Some of that oh-so impressive resilience on show again from the American.

  • 18:38

    Over at the 15th Thorbjorn Olesen has taken the lead on his own at -4. The Dane shot a 65 in the final round at the Bridgestone Invitational last week and was worth a small bet at 200/1 without a doubt.

    -4: Olesen (15)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (17), Koepka (17)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Oosthuizen (16), Lingmerth (14), Stroud (13), DeLaet (4)

    Irish leaderboard: E: McIlroy, McDowell, +3: Lowry (F:74), +6: Harrington (16)

  • 18:46

    There's been a slight five or 10 minute delay in the tee times today due to late start this morning. That means McIlroy is teeing it up on the first eight minutes after scheduled but he's now up and away.


    Up and away with a 330 yard drive on the first. Standard.


    Rahm follows him down the middle while Fowler tugs his drive into the left rough.


    Meanwhile, with two holes to play Harrington remains +6.

  • 18:51

    In the group ahead of McIlroy, Phil Mickelson is having a very Phil-like first hole. After a perfect drive he airmailed the green with his second, leaving a nigh-on impossible chip shot (even for Mickelson) out of heavy rough and on a downslope. With that he can only leave 50 feet or so for par, rolls it six feet past but, thankfully, finds the middle of the cup with the bogey putt.  

    Alongside him, Walker and and Dufner also open with bogeys. In fairness the first hole is a par four of ... 527 yards. Gulp.

  • 18:55

    Back down the first fairway we go. Fowler is up first from the bunker and pushes his approach right into a greenside bunker.

    From the middle of the fairway Rahm turns his 7-iron over a little and it flies long, settling down in the long rough and leaving a very, very tough pitch.

    From closer in McIlroy flights a lovely iron shot into the heart of the green, leaving 25 feet up the hill for birdie. A solid start for the man looking for his third win at this course and his third US PGA Championship.

    At the ninth world number one Dustin Johnson has just finished off, signing for a round of 70 and -1. He'll be pleased with that start.

  • 18:57
    As always, if you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player, you can get in touch using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog and I will give you all of the information you desire.
  • 19:00
  • 19:02

    It's going from a bad day to a shocking day for Pádraig Harrington. At the eight, his 17th, he's just recorded his fourth double bogey of the day and is now +8. Apologies for the typo earlier saying he was +2, it's been a fair few hours since he was at that mark unfortunately.

    At the first McIlroy's birdie effort turns in towards the hole but misses on the right and he has to settle for a par. It's also pars apiece for Fowler and Rahm at the opening hole.

    -4: Olesen (16)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Lingmerth (15), Stroud (14), DeLaet (5)

    Irish leaderboard: E: McIlroy (1), McDowell, +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (17)

     

  • 19:06

    So Brooks Koepka, the US Open champion, says these are the fastest greens he's ever played on. That's, frankly, terrifying considering they also have a sub-air system in place to suck all moisture out of the putting surfaces if they dare to get soft after the rain which is forecast for the next few days.

    Some other notable scores are Hideki Matuyama's 70 for -1, matching Dustin Johnson, while Jordan Spieth finished with a 73. PGA champion of two years ago, Jason Day, is another who has finished at the -1 mark. The big names are well-placed.

  • 19:12

    At the 17th Olesen missed the green with his approach and failed to get up and down to save par. That's a bogey for the Dane and he's back to -3, tied for the lead with Grayson Murray, Gary Woodland and Brooks Koepka who are all in the house.

    But it looks like Rory McIlroy has come out of the block firing on all cylinders! After another perfect drive at the second, leaving 176 yards, he fired an arrow iron shot right at the pin where it almost pitched in the hole and rolled out to six feet.

    Alongside him, Rahm sticks his in just as close while Fowler will face about 25 feet for his birdie.

  • 19:20

    After that super approach at the second, the release on McIlroy's ball meant that it rolled out past the hole, leaving six feet down a trecherous slope. He barely strokes his ball at all, just about getting it going, but it just creeps by the right edge and he has to settle for a par to remain level.

    Rahm, from the better side of the hole up the hill, pushes his effort right and also has to tap in for a disappointing par. Fowler lags his long putt up to a foot and taps in for a par he will be conserably happier with than his playing partners.

    And we have a new leader! After that bogey at the 17th Olesen has rolled in a 20 footer for birdie at the 18th to finish with a birdie and a round of 67!

     

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Stroud (15), DeLaet (6), An (2)

    Irish leaderboard: E: McIlroy (2), McDowell (1), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 19:22
  • 19:25

    Over at the 10th, Graeme McDowell has just started his first round, playing the course the alternate way. He's made a par at his first hole and sits alongside McIlroy at level par.

    Speaking of McIlroy, he's missed his first fairway of the day at the third, but not by much. It shouldn't cause him much trouble from there.

    -1 is proving to be a very popular score on this opening day with Tommy Fleetwood another of the notable names to finish on the mark, alongside Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen.

  • 19:30

    South Korea's Ben An has made a blistering start, picking up three birdies in his first three holes.

    At the downwind par four third, McIlroy once again nearly holes out his approach as it catches the hole on its way past. However, coming from the rough, he was never going to be able to stop it and it rolls out onto the back fringe.

    From the fairway Rahm and Fowler both flight lovely approaches in to eight feet.

  • 19:34

    Rory!

    After almost holing out his second shot, he makes sure of it with his third. His delicate pitch barely carries onto the green, takes the slope and curves beautifully down the hill and into the hole for a birdie three!

    And it's birdies all round for this group! Rahm and Fowler make no mistakes with their putts and all three of the afternoon marquee group move to -1.

    In the group ahead Mickelson has steadied the ship somewhat with pars at the second and third after that bogey at the first and he remains +1.

  • 19:36

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), An (3)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Stroud (16), DeLaet (7)

    Irish leaderboard: -1: McIlroy (3), E: McDowell (1), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 19:39

    McDowell shaves the hole with a long birdie putt at the 11th, his second, and remains at level par. He's playing here thanks to a special invite due to him not being exempt after what's been a disappointing year so far. Let's hope he can make the most of that invite this week.

  • 19:40
  • 19:44

    In his 100th major championship Mickeson is struggling a little bit, adding a bogey at the fourth to the dropped shot at the first and he's now +2.

    Back on the tee at the par three is McIlroy. With a 7-iron in hand he tugs it a little left but it flies well over the green and kicks 20 feet or so into some deep rough. Best of luck with that one, Rory.

    Rahm also fails to find the green, his ball diving into the right bunker. Fowler, however, has no such problems. He rifles a gorgeous his fade in to six feet.  

    At the 13th - his fourth - An has another look at birdie but it comes up short. He has to settle for a boring first par of the day.

  • 19:47

    Even with a close-up camera view, we can't see McIlroy's ball whatsoever. Given the lie, he's played a pretty decent flop shot to about 12 feet but will now face a lightning quick putt down the hill. If his pitch had just carried a foot or so further it would have caught the slope and trundled down to hole side.  

    Rahm is in a much better position in the bunker and makes the most of it but splashing out to a few feet.

  • 19:52

    McIlroy's par putt is very tentative and pulls up two feet or so short. That's a bogey four and he gives the birdie at the last straight back to slip back to level par.

    And that's now two behind playing partner Fowler who has followed his birde at the last with another at the fourth thanks to a perfectly judged putt down the slope.  

    There's no such luck for Rahm however. After that great bunker shot he plays his short par putt left edge but it actually breaks further left, despite looking like it had to go right. He's now left with even further for his bogey but maintains his composure to hole out and join McIlroy at level par.

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), An (4)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Stroud (17), DeLaet (7), Fowler (4)

    Irish leaderboard: E: McIlroy (4), E: McDowell (1), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 19:57

    If you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player just use the 'Contact Us' button to get in touch and I'll give you all of the information you need.

    One of those you may be wondering about is Graeme McDowell. He's just made his third par in a row at his third hole and remains at level par.

  • 20:02

    McIlroy has work to do at the par four fifth if he's to save his par. After taking 3-wood off the tee he pushed his tee shot into the right bunker and caught his approach shot a little heavy, leaving it a few feet short of the green.

    In the same bunker, Fowler hits a shocker from the sand, his ball crashing into the lip and jumping back to exactly where it started. With his second effort he goes ultra cautious, catches it fat and will now face a long up and down from the thick rough just to save bogey. Yikes.

    Rahm from the middle of the fairway, finds the middle of the green to leave 12 feet for birdie.

    And, up ahead at the 18th, Stroud has rolled in a birdie putt to finish his round at -3 and sign for a 68.

  • 20:07

    Fowler is having an absolute disaster. Right after two consecutive birdies as well. With his fourth from the rough he missed the green left, pitched up to 15 feet with his fifth and two-putted from there for a triple bogey seven. Suddenly he's back to +1.

    From the front of the green, McIlroy takes the putter and lags it nicely up to a few feet to take a par and remain level.

    Rahm's quick birdie putt down the hill trickles right at the very death and stays out. He also remains level.

  • 20:16

    The par three sixth is 259 yards today. Yes, the par three sixth. I played a par four earlier today that was only four yards longer. Surely 259 yard par threes just aren't neccessary.

    Anyway, McIlroy opts for a 4-iron, says he "didn't quite get it" but it still gets all the way up to pin high and just in the fringe of the left.

    Rahm pushes his tee shot slightly right but the contours of the green bring it all the way around to about 20 feet and pin high. Getting away with it.

    Fowler arrows a 4-iron right into the heart of the green with the best shot of the lot but not the best results after Rahm's stroke of luck.

    This is a long, long way from easy today. So far the field average score is +3.7!

  • 20:22

    Back at the fifth, Matt Kuchar has rolled in his second birdie of the day to get back to -1 after a bogey at the third. Can he feature again at a major, so soon after the Open?

    At the par five 15th An misses a very good look at birdie and has to settle for par to remain -3. That will feel like a shot dropped there, though. That par five is an excellent chance to pick up a shot before entering the fearsome 'Green Mile'.

  • 20:27

    Back to the par three sixth we go and McIlroy. From a fluffy lie in the Bermuda rough just off the green he straight out duffs his pitch, leaving 25 feet for par. From there he rolls it past and does well in the end to hole out for bogey. However, that's a second bogey in three holes and he's now back to +1. He badly, badly needs a birdie to get that momentum going.

    Alongside him, Rahm's birdie effort kisses the edge and stays out, leaving him at level par while Fowler also two-putted to remain at +1 with McIlroy.

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68) An (6)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69)

    -1: Matsuayama (F:70), Kang (F:70), Fleetwood (F:70), Oosthuizen (F: 70), Day (F:70), D Johnson (F:70), Cauley (9), DeLaet (9), Micheel (7)

    Irish leaderboard: E: McDowell (4), +1: McIlroy (6), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 20:30
    Defending champion Jimmy Walker has had a very tough start. He's +4 through his first six holes and, after driving in the hazard at the par five seventh, he's struggling just to save par there. It's been a very tough year for Walker after being diagnosed with Lyme disease and only now is he really beginning to recover from it.
  • 20:34

    Back on the tee Rahm canes a super drive down the fairway, leaving the green well in reach. It's even more so in reach for McIlroy after his drive flew Rahm's, leaving no more than a mid-iron in there.

    Fowler, looking to cut one off the left, pulls it straight left and into the trees.

  • 20:35
  • 20:44

    Another birdie putt slips past for An at his seventh hole, the 16th. He's still -3 but could easily be -5 or even -6. He's absolutely striping it at the pin.

    At the par five seventh McIlroy has sent an absolute moon ball into the middle of the green, leaving 35 feet for eagle. That was higher than towering that iron shot.

  • 20:47

    The US coverage has just shown us the seventh hole in this order:

    Rahm's approach - McIlroy's approach - Rahm's eagle putt - Fowler's approach - Waker's putt (in the group ahead!) - McIlroy's eagle putt - Mickelson's putt (also in the group ahead!) - Fowler's birdie putt.

    What on earth is that?!

    Anyway, McIlroy's eagle putt came up just short, leaving a tap in for birdie and he's back to level par.

    Rahm matched him to get to -1 while Fowler also made a four to jump back to level after a superb approach shot that he somehow managed to hit with the group ahead still on the green - if you go by the TV order anyway.

  • 20:52

    At the 14th - his fifth - McDowell found trouble off the tee but did very well to recover and save a par thanks to an excellent pitch shot from short of the green. He remains at level after five pars in a row to start.


    However, at the hole ahead, An has dropped his first shot of the day to slip back to -2. After that quick start he's slowed down somewhat in the last four holes.

  • 20:55

    -4: Olesen (F:67)


    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)


    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), An (7), Points (6)


    -1: Matsuayama (F:70), Kang (F:70), Fleetwood (F:70), Oosthuizen (F: 70), Day (F:70), D Johnson (F:70), Cauley (10), DeLaet (10), Blixt (6), Berger (6), Moore (5)


    Irish leaderboard: E: McDowell (5), E: McIlroy (7), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)


    If you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player just use the 'Contact Us' button to get in touch and I'll give you all of the information you need.

  • 20:57

    Graeme McDowell gets it to -1!

    A birdie at the par five 15th - his sixth - gets the 2010 US Open champion to within three of the lead. He's putting together a very, very solid round so far.

    Back we go to McIlroy at the par four eighth. It's playing 349 yards today and McIlroy has just driven it to about 20 yards short of the green...

  • 21:01

    McIlroy's problem the last few weeks is that he's been bombing drives straight down the fairway but not making the most of it. However, he has at eighth by spinning a gorgeous pitch up to three feet and rolling in the birdie putt to get to -1.

    Alongside him, Fowler and Rahm both fail to find the cup with their birdie putts and remain at level and -1 respectively.

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (11) An (7), Points (6)

    -1: Matsuayama (F:70), Kang (F:70), Fleetwood (F:70), Oosthuizen (F: 70), Day (F:70), D Johnson (F:70), DeLaet (11), Rahm (8), McIlroy (8), McDowell (6), Blixt (6), Berger (6), Moore (6)

    Irish leaderboard: -1: McDowell (6), -1: McIlroy (8), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 21:04

    Bud Cauley is really getting it going. Playing the course backwards, he's made three birdies in his last five holes - the latest coming at the third - and he's now up to -3 and the highest placed player currently on the course.

  • 21:10

    At the 515 yard par four 15th, McDowell has to hit a hybrid for his approach but he's flighted a superb approach in to 15 feet. That's to get to -2!


    Meanwhile, I have news of Beef. And it's not good news if you're a fan of Andrew Johnston. He's had to withdraw from the tournament after his first round due to a shoulder injury.

  • 21:14

    After three good drives down the ninth, McIlroy finishes up the worst of the three approaches in his group. However, he still has an outside chance of birdie with 25 feet or so up the hill after his ball landed into the upslope and stopped dead.

    Fowler will have about 10 feet to the left of the hole while Rahm faces less than that after almost holing his approach!

  • 21:22

    Back-to-back bogeys at the eighth and ninth has Mickelson back at +4 making the turn. And it could get worse after another hugely wild drive at the 10th, leaving him in the left trees.


    No such problems for McIlroy however as he remains -1 after two-putting from the front of the ninth green. That's an opening half of 34 shots.  


    Alonside McIlroy, Fowler and Rahm both take full advantage of those excellent approaches to post two birdies. That's Fowler now at -1 and Rahm at -2!


    -4: Olesen (F:67)


    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68), Cauley (12)


    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Rahm (9)An (8), Points (7)


    -1: Matsuayama (F:70), Kang (F:70), Fleetwood (F:70), Oosthuizen (F: 70), Day (F:70), D Johnson (F:70), DeLaet (12), McIlroy (9), Kuchar (8), Kisner (7) McDowell (6), Moore (6), Fox (5)


    Irish leaderboard: -1: McDowell (7), -1: McIlroy (9), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 21:32

    The last three holes at Quail Hollow are known as the 'Green Mile' - because they measure a mile in total. As well as that they're surrounded by water and regularly play as the toughest finishing stretch on the PGA Tour when the Wells Fargo tournament is played here. Today they're very much living up to their reputation, coughing up double bogeys, triple bogeys and worse. Just now Mackenzie Hughes has doubled the 16th while Adam Hadwin has doubled the 17th. And the scariest thing is that conditions are absolutely perfect! I dread to think how tough they're going to be if the wind gets up and the greens firm up even more...

  • 21:33
  • 21:35

    At the 18th - his ninth - Ben An can't stop the slide as another bogey completes the Green Mile in +2 for the Korean and sees him slip back to -1. It's all gone very slow after those three birdies in a row to start.

    Back at the 600 yard par five 10th, McIlroy has flown his second shot right up to the pin where it takes a huge bounce and runs through to the back of the green. That's okay from there, down in two and it's another birdie.

    Fowler's effort at the green slides right and misses the putting surface, leaving a tough up-and-down with very little green to work with. Rahm's shot goes the other way but at least leaves an easier pitch.

  • 21:35
    Peter Byrne Again fabulous commentary. From Andulacia. Keep up the great work.
  • 21:38

    Fowler pitches up first at the 10th and catches it a bit heavy, leaving it well short.  


    Rahm does the opposite, sending it too long and leaving 25 feet or so for birdie.


    Coming from the best position, McIlroy flies his chip well up the green from where it looks like it will trundle well past, but it grabs and releases out to five feet.

  • 21:43
  • 21:43

    McIlroy makes no mistake with the birdie putt and gets to -2! That's a third birdie in four holes for McIlroy and he's now just two behind the lead.

    Also two behind the lead is Fowler. After that poor putt he recovers with a birdie putt right into the heart of the hole! That's also a third birdie in four holes and he joins McIlroy at -2. If it wasn't for that triple bogey at the fifth he'd be leading on his own.

    Rahm's long birdie effort slips past the left edge and he has to settle for par meaning that all three of the players in this group are -2 and two behind.

    And, as you can see there, over at the fourth hole Joost Luiten has canned his tee shot for the first hole-in-one of the championship!

  • 21:47

    At the sixth - his 15th - Cauley has dropped his first shot of the day to slip back to -2.

    It's also a dropped shot for McDowell - his coming at the 17th, his eighth - and he's back to level par with 11 holes to play.

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (15), McIlroy (10), Fowler (10), Rahm (10), Points (8), Kisner (8)

    Irish leaderboard:  -2: McIlroy (10), E: McDowell (8), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 21:51

    At the par four 11th it's 320 yards to carry the bunker on the left. McIlroy absolutely creases on straight over the sand where it rolls out to 351 yards!  

    That leaves just 101 yards but, as was the case so often last week, his wedge shot is very poor. It lands 25 feet right of the pin and spins all the way back off the green. That was a shocker.

  • 21:54

    Fowler and Rahm are both struggling at the 11th after their drives found the right rough. From there both could only advance it further up the right rough. Fowler's pitch looked to be on a decent line but checked up and stopped 15 feet short. Rahm made a better effort, bumping it up to five feet.

    From the apron, McIlroy sends a low pitch up towards the pin where it lands, checks and releases out to about six feet. Not quite what he wanted - that will be a seriously delicate sliding putt down the slope for par after that ridiculous drive.

  • 22:01

    McIlroy badly needs to roll his par putt in at the 11th to maintain his good momentum and he does so! And he gives it a fist pump as well, he knew how important that one was after three birdies in the previous four holes.

    Alongside him Rahm also tidies up for his par to remain at -2 while Fowler's long par effort misses short. That's the American back to -1.

    Up at the 18th McDowell faces a tricky chip down the hill for his third shot at the par four and he completely whiffs it. It barely bobbles onto the green and he'll now face 15 feet for par.

  • 22:03

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (15), McIlroy (11), Rahm (11), Points (9), Kisner (10), Fox (8)

    Irish leaderboard: -2: McIlroy (11), E: McDowell (8), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 22:06

    As you can see there, a birdie at the eighth has Ryan Fox up to -2. He won the Northern Ireland Open on the Challenge Tour at Galgorm Castle this time last year. Unfortunately he's not back to defend his title this week but I reckon he'll take a current tied-6th position at the US PGA instead.

    After that whiffed chip at the 18th, McDowell has gone and rolled his par putt right into the middle of the hole! What a save that is. He remains at level par through his front nine.

  • 22:10

    Mickelson looks so, so flat today and it could very well be due to the lack of Bones. Lefty has struggled since the split with his caddy and is really off the boil today. Another bogey, the latest coming at the 12th, has him all the way back at +6 and well on the way to a weekend off.

    A rare wayward drive from McIlroy at the 12th forces him to play out right of the green with his second. It skips up and into the greenside bunker where it shouldn't cause too many problems to save par. A good recovery shot, there.

    Rahm's approach is long and rolls all the way out to the back of the green, leaving a fearsome, long, lightning quick birdie putt down the slope.  

    Fowler's effort comes up short of the green but he'll face nothing more than a routine up and down to save par.

  • 22:14

    That exceptionally tough putt for Rahm proves to be exactly that. Facing about 20 feet of break he has to aim with his back to the hole and gets it nowhere near the hole. From there he takes two to wind up with a bogey and slip back to -1.


    McIlroy, after leaving himself with five feet down the hill for par, coaxes another good putt down the slope and in the side door. That's another massive par save for McIlroy after the previous good putt at the 11th. He's grinding hard and that, with McIlroy, is always a good sign because the birdies are always there.


    Fowler also gets up and down for par and remains at -1 alongside Rahm.

  • 22:16

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (16), McIlroy (12), Points (9), Kisner (10), Fox (8)

    Irish leaderboard: -2: McIlroy (12), E: McDowell (9), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

    If you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player just use the 'Contact Us' button to get in touch and I'll give you all of the information you need.

  • 22:18
  • 22:19

    Up to the par three 13th we go.

    Fowler flies a 6-iron into the green but it turns over slightly and leaves him with a tricky chip from the rough to the left.

    With a 7-iron in hand McIlroy's follows a similar flight but isn't as far left, leaving him in the fringe where he shouldn't face too difficult of a chip.

    Rahm is the only player to find the green, leaving about 25 feet for birdie down the slope.

  • 22:24

    It's a dropped shot for McIlroy.

    After a slightly heavy-handed chip - after which he looked to the gallery behind him as if something had put him off - his ball rolls and rolls and rolls out on the glass-like greens to about 10 feet. A tentative putt from there fails to reach the hole and McIlroy winds up with a bogey to slip back to -1.

    He now sits alongside his playing partners after both got down in two to save pars, with Fowler's chip going all the way round the hole but refusing to drop.

  • 22:26

    -4: Olesen (F:67)


    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)


    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (17), Kisner (11), Fox (8)


    Irish leaderboard: -1: McIlroy (13), E: McDowell (9), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 22:32

    Uh, oh.


    It's all turning a bit sour for McIlroy. The par four 14th is only 354 yards and well in range with a 3-wood for the world number four. He looks to play a high draw in but turns it over too much and it lands on the bank, kicking left into the water. He can still save par if he can get up-and-down but that's a major error for McIlroy.


    Rahm finds the front left bunker while Fowler is just off the green to the right but pin high. From there he'll expect to make birdie.

  • 22:36

    It's going from bad to worse for McIlroy.

    After taking a drop he still faced a pitch with the ball way above his feet and sitting down. It was a lie from which it was very easy to fluff it and ... you guessed it, that's exactly what he did. From there he pitched up to five feet and will need to make that just to limit the damage to a bogey.

  • 22:37
    Over at the ninth Bud Cauley has just completed a very impressive round indeed. He's parred his final hole for a -2 round of 69.
  • 22:42

    McIlroy is fast turning an excellent round into a poor one.  

    His bogey putt is a shocking effort, not even threatening the hole and missing on the right hand side. That's a double bogey six to follow his bogey at the 13th and he's now, all of a sudden, +1.

    No such trouble for Rahm and Fowler however as both find the bottom of the cup for birdies to get to -2.

    Two holes ago McIlroy was a shot ahead of his playing partners. He's now three behind them.

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (F:69), Rahm (14), Fowler (14) Kisner (12), Fox (9)

    Irish leaderboard: +1: McIlroy (14), +1: McDowell (10), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 22:43
    As you can see on the latest leaderboard, McDowell is also back to +1 after making a bogey of his own at the first, his 10th.
  • 22:50

    At the par three 13th, Kisner fails to get up and down to save his par and slips back to -1, reducing the pack at -2.

    Over at the par five 15th McIlroy slashed his drive right and is struggling now. However, he does very well to muscle a fairway wood down towards the green, leaving a good chance at a pitch and a putt to make birdie and at least pull back one of the dropped shots.

    From the fairway bunker Rahm can only force his second shot up to 100 yards short of the green while Fowler's effort flies way left, leaving a very tough pitch over a bunker.

  • 22:55

    We have a new man to -2!

    At the third, his 12th, DA Points has rattled in a long birdie putt to get to within two of Olesen and alongside Fowler and Rahm. The American knows how to get it around Quail Hollow after being the forgotten man in the three-way playoff in 2012 when Fowler beat both he and McIlroy off to claim the Wells Fargo title.

    Anyway, back to the 15th. Rahm's approach from the fairway flies right over the pin and stops up about 15 feet away.  

    Fowler, faced with that very tricky pitch can only get it to about 25 feet - not a bad effort considering.

    McIlroy will probably be most disappointed with his shot. He's given himself a good look at birdie from eight feet but he would have expected to be at least half that length with what wasn't a very tough pitch.

  • 22:58

    Finally, we have a man to -3!

    Rahm's birdie putt is never anywhere but the centre of the hole and it gets the Spaniard to within one of Olesen and the highest placed player on the course.

    Fowler's effort starts right and stays right. He settles for par and remains at -2.

    Now, McIlroy. He really needs this after those disastrous two previous holes...

    And it misses right. The McIlroy momentum looks to have been really and truly killed at this stage.

    And now it's time for the Green Mile. This could really get ugly.

  • 23:00
  • 23:03

    -4: Olesen (F:67)


    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68), Rahm (15)


    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (F:69), Fowler (15), Points (12)


    Irish leaderboard: +1: McIlroy (15), +2: McDowell (12), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 23:06

    The course is firming up more and more by the minute now and getting tougher and tougher.

    McDowell is certainly finding that to be the case. He's added a bogey at the third - his 12th - to his dropped shot at the first and is now back to +2 after being up to -1 not so long ago.

    However, Kisner is raging against the Quail Hollow machine. After that bogey at the par three 13th he's answered straight back with a birdie at the short par four 14th and is now back to -2 and within two of the lead.

  • 23:09

    Into the Green Mile the group of McIlroy, Rahm and Fowler go.

    McIlroy's drive splits the fairway and, from there, he's faded a nice approach in towards the flag. It leaves about 20 feet for birdie but that was a good shot considering the very tough pin position.

    Rahm plays a very similar approach and gets a similar result although his putt will be slightly longer.

    Fowler's approach overfades a little and catches the front right bunker.

  • 23:15

    McIlroy has to settle for a par at the 16th after his birdie putt comes up just short.

    From further back Rahm lags his effort up there but rams (sorry) his par putt straight through the break where it misses left. That's a bogey five and he's back to -2.

    From the bunker Fowler splashes out to 15 feet but rolls the putt in for a magnificent par save on a cruelly difficult par four. That's like picking up a shot on the field that is. Fowler is now alongside Rahm at -2.

  • 23:16

    -4: Olesen (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (F:69), Rahm (16), Fowler (16), Kisner (14), Points (13)

    Irish leaderboard: +1: McIlroy (16), +1: McDowell (13), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

    If you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player just use the 'Contact Us' button to get in touch and I'll give you all of the information you need.

  • 23:19

    We have another man to -3!

    DA Points is lighting up the closing stages of this first round!

    Birdies at the third and the fifth have got him up to -3 after 14 holes and now just one off the lead.

  • 23:24
  • 23:25

    A birdie and a par for McIlroy in the last two holes and he'll be very well placed at level par, despite the bogey and double bogey at 13 and 14.

    And, at the 17th, he's given himself an excellent chance at doing so. A gorgeous 6-iron has left him pin high and 10 feet away for a birdie two.  

    Fowler sends his approach right into the middle of the green from where he'll face about 30 feet for his birdie.

    Rahm, meanwhile, has work to do. He came right up and out of his tee shot, shooting it right where it stopped short of the green, leaving a long chip up the green.

  • 23:27

    And now Kevin Kisner joins the pack at -3!

    He's followed up that bogey at the 13th with birdies at the 14th and 15th to get within one of the lead. That's great resilience from the American there and he's sitting very pretty indeed.

  • 23:31

    At the 17th Rahm's pitch comes up well short, leaving 20 feet for par. From there his putt comes up short and he taps in for bogey. That means he's followed back-to-back birdies with back-to-back bogeys. That shows just how tough these last few holes are and Rahm now slips back to -1.

    Fowler's birdie putt also comes up short and he taps in for a satisfactory par. A par at the last and he'll be a very, very happy man. it's some achievement just to go through these last three holes without dropping a shot.

    McIlroy, with the best birdie chance of the lot, gets a bad break as his ball takes a bobble and shoots left. That's also a par and he remains +1 and frustrated.

  • 23:33

    DA Points seems to be the only man not having trouble with the greens. He's consistently either holing putts or giving them a chance and he's done exactly that at the sixth - his 15th - by rolling in a 10 foot par putt to remain -3.

    Back at the fifth McDowell played a lovely approach shot in to 15 feet or so but again failed to convert the putt, leaving him at +2.

  • 23:36

    Well McDowell won't be at +2 for much longer!

    At the 259 yard par three he's forced to hit a 3-wood but that's no problem as he sends a bullet into the front of the green, allowing it to release out to a foot! What a shot, very nearly an ace at the nigh-on impossible par three.

    At the 18th McIlroy releases all of his fury on his drive, sending it way down the fairway. A birdie and he'll have a nice bit of momentum to take into tomorrow.

  • 23:39

    Up ahead at the 18th green Mickelson's bad day is salvaged ... somewhat.

    He still failed to make a birdie in his whole round but he did hole a 10 footer for par just to break 80. That's his worst ever round at a PGA Championship in 95 attempts. It's a difficult time to say the least for Lefty.

  • 23:40
  • 23:42

    Fowler, McIlroy and Rahm all found the 18th fairway with Fowler to play first.

    And it's a beauty as it flies over the pin and stops 10 feet away. However, his putt will be down the hill and devilishly fast.

    Rahm, up next, turns his over a small bit but it's still a respectable effort, leaving 30 feet for a three.

    McIlroy, the closest of the three, sends his approach way up into the air and stares it down as if he likes it. It pitches only a few feet away from the pin but releases out to just past Fowler's ball. It's a chance but it's absolutely rapid to say the least.

  • 23:44

    McDowell easily tapped in that birdie putt at the sixth and is now back to +1 with three holes to play. Well in this.


    Let's get up to 18 for the closing shots of McIlroy, Rahm and Fowler.

  • 23:47

    Rahm, from 30 feet, has no real chance of getting his putt close down the slope and it trundles seven feet past.

    From closer in McIlroy barely breathes on his putt but it doesn't take the break from the right ... and rolls five feet past.

    Fowler, from closer in, misses left and his also rolls out to five feet!

    These greens are bordering on unfair to be honest. If they really dry out over the weekend they could become unplayable. Players just seem to constantly be grinding over four and five footers because the ball doesn't stop beside the hole.

  • 23:50

    Rahm rattles his par putt home to sign for a round of 70 and -1.

    Fowler follows him for one better - a 69 and -2. That is some round considering he had a triple bogey at the fifth.

    And, finally, McIlroy also rolls in his par putt for a 72 and +1. If the great McIlroy/Spieth battle is to take place over the weekend both will need to improve tomorrow but they are at least locked on the same score after one round.

  • 23:56

    Overall, McIlroy will be frustrated. He was -2 after 12 holes with a driveable par four and a par five to come and yet he played the last six holes in +3. However, when he really takes stock he knows that he's still well in this at just five shots off the lead with three rounds to play. The course was the real winner today - particularly in the afternoon - as the greens really firmed up and made it a lot more US Open-like than US PGA-like. A 67 or a 68 tomorrow and McIlroy will be right in the mix.

    And such a round is definitely on the cards. The improvements on the greens which we've seen in the last few weeks are very much there and getting better while his wedge play today was, overall, better than last week.  

    So, we're approaching the closing stages of this first round now. DA Points - who has just parred his 16th hole to remain -3 - and Kevin Kisner - who is going up the 18th at -3 -  are the closest challengers to the leader Olesen. Meanwhile, McDowell is just five back with three holes to play - and three of the easier holes at Quail Hollow as well giventhe fact that he's playing the course backwards. I'll be with you until McDowell finishes up so don't go to bed just yet!

  • 23:59
    The lightning quick greens of Quail Hollow - which Adam Scott has just called trickier than Augusta National - have got the better of Justin Rose today. The Englishman has just three-putted the 18th to finish wtih a bogey and a round of 76 (+5).
  • 00:07
  • 00:12

    We have a tie for the lead!

    Kevin Kisner has rolled in a rare birdie at the 18th to match Olesen's 67 and tie the Dane at -4!

    The only other player with a chance to join them is DA Points. He has parred his 17th to remain at -3 and needs a birdie at the last to make it a three-way tie at the top.

    Meanwhile, at the ninth, Brian Harman has followed a birdie at the previous hole with a chip-in birdie at the last to shoot a 69.

    -4: Olesen (F:67), Kisner (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68), Points (17)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (F:69), Fowler (F:69), Harman (69)

    -1: Matsuyama (F:70), Kang (F:70), Fleetwood (F:70), Oosthuizen (F:70), Day (F:70), D Johnson (F:70), DeLaet (F:70), Perez (F:70), Rahm (F:70), Moore (17), Smith (16)

    Irish leaderboard: +1: McIlroy (F:72), +1: McDowell (16), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 00:15
    At the eight - his 17th - McDowell missed the green with his approach, leaving a seriously tough pitch from a tricky lie. With little or no green to work with he flops it up, letting it land barely on the green. It's a superb shot, as well as he could do, and it still rolls seven feet past. These greens are so unforgiving.
  • 00:20

    What a par save that is for McDowell. After his flop shot rolled out he kept his composure to bang the par putt into the back of the hole and remain +1 with one hole to play.

    Up ahead at the ninth green Points has 30 feet for birdie to tie the lead at -4.

  • 00:21

    He gives it a great roll but it misses right. However, that's an excellent round of 68 from the three-time PGA Tour winner and he'll go into Friday just one behind the lead.

    Over at the 18th it's been a disappointing finish for Ryan Moore. He's three-putted the last green to drop a shot and sign for a level par round of 71.

  • 00:22

    -4: Olesen (F:67), Kisner (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68), Points (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (F:69), Fowler (F:69), Harman (F:69)

    -1: Matsuyama (F:70), Kang (F:70), Fleetwood (F:70), Oosthuizen (F:70), Day (F:70), D Johnson (F:70), DeLaet (F:70), Perez (F:70), Rahm (F:70), Smith (17)

    Irish leaderboard: +1: McIlroy (F:72), +1: McDowell (16), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)

  • 00:35

    It's a bogey at the ninth for McDowell and he signs for a round of 73 (+2). That's a disappointing finish for the 2010 US Open champion. However it must be remembered that this is a tremendously long course that leaves him at a huge disadvantage before a ball is even hit.

    In other news, Players champio Si Woo Kim has withdrawn from the tournament with a shoulder injury.

    Stay tuned to www.irishtimes.com/sport for Philip Reid's day one report from Quail Hollow.

    Okay, that's it from me for tonight. It's been a gruelling opening day at the US PGA Championship and it certainly feels a lot more like a US Open than a traditional PGA. Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in from 2pm tomorrow for full coverage once again. Bye!

    -4: Olesen (F:67), Kisner (F:67)

    -3: Murray (F:68), Woodland (F:68), Koepka (F:68), Stroud (F:68), Points (F:68)

    -2: Finau (F:69), Herman (F:69), Reed (F:69), Casey (F:69), Cauley (F:69), Fowler (F:69), Harman (F:69)

    -1: Matsuyama (F:70), Kang (F:70), Fleetwood (F:70), Oosthuizen (F:70), Day (F:70), D Johnson (F:70), DeLaet (F:70), Perez (F:70), Rahm (F:70), Smith (17)

    Irish leaderboard: +1: McIlroy (F:72), +2: McDowell (F:73), +3: Lowry (F:74), +8: Harrington (F:79)