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The Latest: Rough start for Ryder Cup hopefuls

August 9, 2018

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on the PGA Championship, golf’s final major of the year (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Some of the Americans trying to earn their way onto the Ryder Cup team didn’t get off to the best of starts at the PGA Championship.

That includes Phil Mickelson, though he would appear to be safe as a captain’s pick. Mickelson opened with a 73, meaning his immediate goal is to make the cut. Mickelson has qualified for every Ryder Cup team since 1995. He is No. 10 in the standings, and the top eight qualify after the PGA.

Tony Finau took a scouting trip to Paris ahead of the Sept. 28-30 matches with U.S. captain Jim Furyk. Finau, who is No. 13 in the standings, played with Furyk and shot a 74. Xander Schauffele also was in that group and after being 3 over through 10 holes, he rallied for a 70.

Bryson DeChambeau is on the bubble at No. 9 in the standings. He shot 71. Webb Simpson (No. 8) opened with a 68.


2 p.m.

Louis Oosthuizen has withdrawn from the PGA Championship less than an hour before his scheduled tee time, giving Kelly Kraft a spot in the field at Bellerive.

The official announcement was made about 10 minutes before Oosthuizen’s scheduled 1:59 tee time, though Kraft has been warming up in case he got just such a chance.

He joined a group along with Thomas Pieters and Bill Haas.


1:40 p.m.

If you’re curious what those bandage-like patches were on Rory McIlroy as he grinded his way to a first-round 70 at the PGA Championship, they are designed to deal with wrist and forearm inflammation.

McIlroy said he hit a lot of extra balls last week at Firestone, trying to work on a few things before arriving at Bellerive. He wound up with a bit of soreness in his right arm that accompanied him to St. Louis.

McIlroy says it hurts “the most when I’m chipping, because I sort of hold the angle a bit,” but he doesn’t think it will affect him too much as the tournament progresses.


1:30 p.m.

Tiger Woods says he’s just happy to still be in the tournament after a rough start at the PGA Championship, and that his goal was to “hole a few putts and grind out a score today.”

He certainly holed a few putts. But he only hit 11 of 18 greens in regulation.

As for the mid-round wardrobe change, Woods said he usually changes shirts before teeing off but there wasn’t anywhere to do it between the driving range and the 10th tee. So, he waited until he came across a portable restroom and peeled off his sweat-soaked shirt.

“I just sweat a lot,” he said with a grin.


1:10 p.m.

Tiger Woods has rallied from a bogey-double bogey start to shoot an even-par 70, leaving him five strokes behind clubhouse leader Rickie Fowler at the PGA Championship.

Woods missed his first two fairways and dumped an approach shot in the water. But scrambled for enough pars to keep his round going, then made a pair of birdies on a bogey-free second nine.

Playing partner Justin Thomas was 1 under and Rory McIlroy also was even.


12:25 p.m.

Rickie Fowler birdie two of his final three holes to shoot 5-under 65, giving him a two-shot lead when he hit the clubhouse after his opening round of the PGA Championship.

Fowler was steady from tee to green, only missing two in regulation. He made four birdies without a bogey on his second nine, highlighted by a beautiful approach shot to the water-guarded, par-3 third that led to a 10-footer for birdie.

Aaron Cook, Ian Poulter and Pat Perez joined him in the clubhouse after rounds of 67.


12:10 p.m.

Austin Cook is a long way from the Adams Tour victory that once earned him $4,000.

The Arkansas native shot a 3-under 67 and was the leader in the clubhouse at the PGA Championship, though Rickie Fowler had a hole left and was about to bump him from the perch.

Cook probably won’t complain. He played well enough to graduate from the Web.com Tour last year, and his stunning win in the RSM Classic earlier this year got him in the PGA Championship.

It was his first win as a pro since that Adams Tour event. It paid a cool $1,116,000, too.


12:05 p.m.

Tributes have been flowing right along with tears at the PGA Championship for Jarrod Lyle, who passed away overnight after a long struggle with cancer in his native Australia.

Lyle was first diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager and suffered recurrences of the disease in 2012 and 2017. He chose not to seek more treatment earlier this month.

His good friend Rickie Fowler, who was 5 under and leading the tournament, wore bright yellow much like Lyle often wore. Justin Thomas said on Twitter that “we will all be thinking of him and his family,” while countryman Jason Day said he was “deeply saddened” by Lyle’s passing.

He was survived by Briony and daughters Lusi, 6, and Jemma, 2.


11:50 a.m.

Ryan Fox has posted the first red number of the PGA Championship, a 2-under 68 capped by a pair of birdies heading into the clubhouse out of the first group on the course.

The son of well-known New Zealand rugby player Grant Fox, Ryan Fox played well at the British Open at Carnoustie. He was sixth at the Scottish Open and second at the Irish Open before that.

Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler has climbed into the lead at 4 under. Fowler has three birdies on his second nine to take a one-shot lead over Stewart Cink.


11:25 a.m.

There are few bogey-free rounds among the morning wave at Bellerive, but Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day have a couple of them to sit 2 under and one shot off the lead.

Some thought rains early in the week that softened the course, coupled with relatively slow greens, would lead to someone going low. But there appears to be enough teeth in the length and deep rough at Bellerive that bogeys — and worse, for Phil Mickelson — are offsetting the birdies.

Lefty was 1 under through five, but a two bogeys and two doubles have him 5 over.


10:50 a.m.

Looks as if Rickie Fowler’s on-again, off-again form carried over from last week at Firestone.

Fowler opened with a 63 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, shot 74 on Friday, then had a 65 to get into contention Saturday. He finished with a 73 that dropped him into a tie for 17th.

So naturally, Fowler was due for a good first round at Bellerive. And he’s delivered so far with two birdies on his second nine to reach 3 under, joining Justin Thomas and Stewart Cink in the lead.

Tiger Woods made the turn at 2 over. Tony Finau was a trendy pick given his length off the tee, but he was 4 over with four holes to play in his opening round.


10:30 a.m.

Phil Mickelson’s good start has hit the skids after a double-bogey at the 15th and another bogey at the par-4 18th left him 2 over after the first nine at the PGA Championship.

His playing partners, Jason Day and Keegan Bradley, made the turn at 1 under.

There are 20 teaching pros in the field this week, and Craig Hocknull is making the Southwest Section of the PGA proud. The native of Papua New Guinea, who now teaches out of Gilbert, Arizona, and at Glenwild Golf Club in Park City, Utah, was three shots back of the leader.


10 a.m.

Justin Thomas is off to a good start as he tries to defend his PGA Championship title.

Thomas, who also won last week at Firestone, has three birdies in his first six holes and was tied atop the leaderboard with Stewart Cink among the early wave at Bellerive.

Thomas has experience defending titles. He did it at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia in 2015 and ’16.

Tiger Woods was the last player to win back-to-back PGAs in 2006 and 2007, but four other winners have followed their triumph with top-10 finishes since then. Among them have been Rory McIlroy, who was eighth in 2013, and Jason Day, who finished second two years ago at Baltusrol.


9:30 a.m.

Perhaps experience will trump youthful exuberance at the PGA Championship this week.

With so much attention on young stars such as Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, it’s been the veterans who have gotten off to hot starts at Bellerive.

Forty-two-year-old Ian Poulter led the way at 3 under, and 48-year-old U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk and 45-year-old Stewart Cink were among a group one shot back.

Another 48-year-old, Phil Mickelson, and 42-year-old Pat Perez were among a group at 1 under.


9:15 a.m.

Tiger Woods changed his shirt, then set off trying to change his round.

After a bogey-double bogey start, Woods had already sweated through his shirt at Bellerive, so he stepped into a bathroom after the par-4 11th and put on a fresh shirt. He then found the fairway at the 12th and backed his approach shot to within inches for a kick-in birdie.

The weather is expected to be a factor Thursday. The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-90s with high humidity, and that could mean insufferable conditions for those playing later in the day.

Ian Poulter was 3 under through his first six holes to take the early lead.


9 a.m.

Tiger Woods has started bogey-double bogey at the PGA Championship, hitting wayward tee shots at his first two holes and dumping his approach shot at the par-4 11th in the water.

Woods found the thick zoysia rough right of the 10th to start the round, forcing him to hack back to the fairway. He left his par putt short and had to make a 10-footer just to save bogey.

His tee shot at the 11th found the rough left. But rather than play left of the green, where there was plenty of room, Woods’s approach at the flag was short and bounced into a greenside pond. After his drop, Woods pitched onto the green and two-putted for double.

Playing partner Justin Thomas opened with a birdie. Rory McIlroy was even.


8:25 a.m.

Tiger Woods has survived his first PGA Championship test: making it to the tee.

Massive crowds greeted Woods at his first PGA since 2015, all clamoring for a glimpse of him as he walked from the practice range to the first hole at Bellerive Country Club.

The gallery in some places was more than a dozen deep.

He flared that opening tee shot into the deep rough right of the 10th fairway, forcing him to chop back to the short stop. It was an inauspicious start given the wide avenues at Bellerive.

Woods is playing in a feature group with defending champion Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.


6:50 a.m.

The 100th PGA Championship has begun in stifling summer heat.

Club pro Michael Block hit the opening tee shot down the middle at Bellerive Country Club. The course is playing long and soft because of rain Tuesday and temperatures in the 90s that require PGA officials to keep water on the greens.

The PGA Championship moves to the middle of May next year.

Tiger Woods, defending champion Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are getting most of the attention from the morning side of the draw.

Block is among 20 club pros who qualified for this major. He is the first club pro in six years to qualify for the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year.

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