FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) – The Latest on the PGA Championship on Thursday at Bethpage Black (all times local):
John Daly’s driving is better than his … driving.
The two-time major winner was given a rare exemption to be allowed to use a cart for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black because arthritis in his knee that had him walking with a pronounced limp.
In the opening round, he steered his cart around TV crews and hazards and politely lagged behind playing partners Y.E. Yang and Rich Beem, who were walking.
Daly’s tee shots were another story.
He flew the green off the tee on the par-3 14th and found the greenside bunker on No. 17, another par 3. On the 18th, he was way right into a fairway bunker, and he finished his first nine holes at 4 over. He missed the fairway on Nos. 1 and 3 as well.
And the crowd loved every minute of it.
Fans lined up along the first tee to get a picture of him driving away in his cart, though some howled at the image of him in his garish slacks adorned with New York Yankees logos, driving around like a weekend duffer.
But when Daly he arrived at the 18th green, he received a huge ovation.
Danny Lee is making the biggest charge during the afternoon of the first round of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Lee was 4-under through 11 holes to move into second place, behind defending champion Brooks Koepka’s 63. The 28-year-old from New Zealand was even par after a bogey on No. 5, then he birdied four of the next five holes.
Lee has one career victory on the PGA Tour. Koepka has won three majors in the past two years, including last year’s PGA at Bellerive.
Gary Woodland also was making a move, with birdies on three of the first eight holes to move into a tie with Tommy Fleetwood, who was in the clubhouse at 3-under.
Brian Gay has withdrawn from the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black with a knee injury.
Gay shot 81 in the opening round.
Meanwhile, John Daly was given a rare exemption to be allowed to ride a cart because of arthritis in his right knee. He was 3-over through eight holes.
Brooks Koepka is the first player to shoot 63 in consecutive years at major championships.
Koepka’s defense of his PGA Championship got off to a record start when he holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole for a 7-under 63 to set the course record at Bethpage Black.
It was the 17th round of 63 at the PGA Championship, and Koepka became the first player to do it twice. He also had a 63 last year at Bellerive on his way to winning the Wanamaker Trophy.
Vijay Singh and Greg Norman are the only other players with two rounds of 63 at majors. Singh first did it at Inverness in the 1993 PGA Championship, and again at Olympia Fields in the 2003 U.S. Open. Norman did it at the 1986 British Open when he won at Turnberry, and in the opening round of the 1996 Masters.
Koepka had a four-shot lead among the early starters at Bethpage.
Already six shots behind at the turn, Tiger Woods has turned it around on the front nine at the PGA Championship.
Woods, who had a pair of double bogeys on the back nine at Bethpage Black, made back-to-back birdies, missed a 10-foot birdie chance at the par-3 third and then holed a 30-foot eagle putt on the fourth hole.
That put Woods at 1 under through 13 holes.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka was still at 5 under and led by two over Tommy Fleetwood and Luke List.
Only 12 of the 78 players who started Thursday morning were under par.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka is at it again at the PGA Championship.
The 29-year-old is tied for the lead with two Englishmen after shooting a bogey-free 3 under in the opening round.
Starting on the back nine, Koepka birdied the 10th, 14th and 18th holes in search of his fourth major. He won the U.S. Open in 2017 and ’18.
Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wallace share the lead in a round that has seen Tiger Woods struggle with two double bogeys that have left him 3-over.
Fresh off his Masters victory for his 15th career major, Woods doubled his first hole – No. 10 on the public course on Long Island – after driving into the rough. His second came at No. 17 after his tee shot on the par-3 landed in a bunker and his shot out ended far from the hole.
Francesco Molinari was at even par on the sunny but windy morning.
Wallace birdied four of the first six holes before bogeying the eighth. Fleetwood is 3 under through 12 holes.
Tiger Woods is back at Bethpage Black after a late decision to skip the final round of practice at the PGA Championship.
Woods had planned to play the front nine early Wednesday morning, but never showed up at the course. That led to speculation his surgically repaired back was acting up. His manager says all was fine.
Coming off his emotional win at the Masters, Woods is in the traditional group of current major champions. He is with U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka and British Open champion Francesco Molinari.
The forecast was good. The course was soft and wet. The scores were predictable. With a two-tee start, players starting on the back nine had a far more difficult start. Thomas Pieters opened with a triple bogey at No. 10. Kiradech Aphibarnrat had back-to-back double bogeys.
The only early drama was J.J. Spaun. He was in the first group and walked onto the tee at No. 1 with a minute to spare, avoiding a two-shot penalty. It didn’t seem to bother him. He was 2 under through four holes.
Tiger Woods goes after his next major on a familiar golf course for a PGA Championship held on an unfamiliar spot on the calendar.
The 101st PGA Championship began Thursday morning on Bethpage Black, the first time it has been held in May since 1949. The public course known as the “people’s country club” previously hosted two U.S. Opens.
Rob Labritz, one of 20 club professionals in the 156-man field, hit the opening tee shot under a clearing sky on a course still damp from rain. He sent it well to the right in the rough among the trees.
Woods plays later in the morning with defending champion Brooks Koepka and British Open champion Francesco Molinari. Woods has not played a practice round since nine holes Monday morning.
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