Bryson DeChambeau’s 4-under 66 from the morning wave Thursday held up through the completion of Round 1 on Friday morning to give the 29-year-old a one-stroke lead at the PGA Championship.
Eric Cole slept on the overnight lead at 5-under after darkness stopped play late Thursday, but the 34-year-old rookie went 2-over on his final four holes to finish with a 3-under 67.
Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler, and Corey Conners sit alongside Cole at 3-under after the opening 18 holes at Oak Hill.
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DeChambeau headlined the early wave of action, taking to the course after a 110-minute frost delay. The 2021 U.S. Open champion may have slimmed down since his bulking period to chase distance but still possesses the power to overwhelm a golf course. That was on full display Thursday as the 29-year-old pounded driver all over Oak Hill, topping 320 yards off the tee on eight different occasions.
DeChambeau finished with a sparkling 66, his lowest round in a major since the 2019 Masters. The former U.S. Amateur champion has battled hip and wrist issues over the past couple of years, with those injuries playing a large role in his major struggles since his win at Winged Foot in 2021.
It looked for most of the day as though DeChambeau would hold at least a share of the overnight lead, but Cole emerged from the pack with sizzling play as darkness set in. The Floridian birdied five of the last 10 holes. He’s never won on the PGA TOUR, with his last victory coming with much less fanfare than a PGA Championship.
Both Johnson and Adam Scott came to the 18th hole on Thursday tied with DeChambeau but bogeyed and double-bogeyed the finisher, respectively, to fall out of second spot.
While names like Johnson, Scheffler, and DeChambeau on the leaderboard don’t come as much of a surprise, the other end of the spectrum has some stunning players involved.
World No. 1 Jon Rahm shot his worst score since last year’s PGA Championship, firing a morning 76 to sit at 6-over for the championship. He’s joined at that number by U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick and last week’s winner, Jason Day.
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