US PGA Championship: Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer share lead
Last Updated: 08/08/14 11:50am
Lee Westwood is in a three-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla.
The 41-year-old Englishman carded a six-under-par 65 in perfect conditions to sit alongside American duo Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer at the top of the leaderboard.
Westwood, who is seeking his first major success, arrived in Louisville on the back of a closing 63 in last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
First round leaderboard
(US unless stated)
-6 L Westwood (Eng)
-6 K Chappell
-6 R Palmer
-5 J Furyk
-5 E Molinari (Ita)
-5 H Stenson (Swe)
-5 R McIlroy (NIr)
-5 C Wood (Eng)
He maintained the momentum by equalling his lowest round in a major despite a double-bogey on the first – his 10th hole – when his drive finished in a divot on the fairway.
Westwood recovered from that setback with five birdies in his final six holes to sign off with a total of nine birdies on his card.
World No 107 Chappell, who is yet to win on the PGA Tour, rattled in six birdies in a flawless round, while Palmer held the outright lead on seven under after his seventh birdie on the seventh before slipping up on the next hole.
The trio are one shot clear of world No 1 Rory McIlroy, Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, American Jim Furyk, Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Englishman Chris Wood.
McIlroy hit back superbly from a mid-round wobble which saw him drop three shots in two holes to slip back to level par after making serene progress on the front nine.
The Northern Irishman hooked his second shot out of bounds on the 10th and ran up a double-bogey seven before three putting the 11th for a bogey four.
However, he bounced back in style with four successive birdies from the 12th and he added another birdie at the 18th when his eagle putt shaved the hole to just miss out on a share of the lead.
Stenson closed with a birdie at the 18th after another solid round which featured only one blemish on the 15th.
Bristol-based Wood, 26, moved into contention late in the day with a bogey-free 66 which featured birdies at the 10th – where he started – 14th, second, fifth and seventh holes.
A fit-again Tiger Woods teed off early in the morning after overcoming his back spasms but he now faces a battle to make the halfway cut after a disappointing 74.
His playing partner Phil Mickelson appeared set to post a similar score when he was two over after eight holes, but he then steadied the ship with four birdies to finish on two under.
Defending champion Jason Dufner defied a neck problem to play but he only managed 10 holes and was eight over when he decided to withdraw.
His injury will be a concern to US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, as will the back spasms suffered by Matt Kuchar which forced the world No 6 to pull out before the start of the tournament.