Saturday 16 December 2017

Jordan Spieth fires late on to stay in the mix at Quail Hollow

Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot from the 13th tee during the first round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club on August 10, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot from the 13th tee during the first round of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club on August 10, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Phil Casey

A late rally ensured Jordan Spieth kept his bid to become the youngest player to complete a career grand slam on track in the 99th US PGA Championship.

Spieth's dramatic Open victory at Royal Birkdale means another at Quail Hollow would see him join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in having won all four majors.

But the 24-year-old had to recover from three over par with three holes to play to card a one-over-par 72 and lie five shots off the lead held by Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen.

US Open champion Brooks Koepka was a shot off the lead along with fellow Americans Grayson Murray and Gary Woodland, with England's Paul Casey another shot back on two under.

Starting on the back nine alongside fellow 2017 major winners Koepka and Sergio Garcia, Spieth missed from 15 feet for birdie on the par-five 10th and had to hole from five feet for par on the next after his approach ran just off the green.

A good birdie chance went begging on the 13th before Spieth moved into red figures after getting up and down from right of the green on the par-five 15th, only to promptly gave the shot back on the next after finding two bunkers.

Spieth also bogeyed the first, one of the new holes constructed at Quail Hollow immediately after it hosted last year's Wells Fargo Championship, after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

And when he three-putted the fifth and sixth from just off the green, the world number two was in danger of seeing his title challenge ruined on the opening day.

However, birdies on the next two holes, courtesy of what Spieth described as a "phenomenal" hybrid into the par-five seventh and a "fantastic" wedge to the eighth repaired most of the damage.

"Historically I'm pretty solid with the lead so that was kind of the goal," said Spieth, who was followed around the course by his friend and mentor Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time.

"It's much easier when you are on the front page of the leaderboard than it is coming from behind.

"Given it's the first round I know I'm still in it, but I know that tomorrow's round becomes that much more important to work my way and stay in it. I've got to make up ground.

"If I'm five back at the start of the day, I've got to be less than five back after Friday to really feel like I can play the way this golf course needs to be played and still be able to win.

"I drove the ball well today. If you told me I was going to hit my driver the way that I did today, I would have definitely thought I shot a few under par. I can't putt any worse than I did today."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport