(Friday at 1pm ET on TNT)
Jimmie “Dyn-o-mite!” Walker finished strong with birdies on four of the last six holes to wind up at a 5-under 65 on the day and put himself atop the leaderboard following the opening round of the 2016 PGA Championship. It’s obviously very early in the proceedings, but if Walker to eventually close the deal on Sunday, it would mean that all four majors this year were by guys who’d never before won a major.
Henrik Stenson, fresh off his victory at The Open, recovered from an up-and-down start to shoot 3-under on the back 9 and finish at 67, 2 strokes off the lead and tied for 5th. Among other notables, defending champ Jason Day hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, but could only parlay that into a 68 on the day, leaving him tied for 9th, 3 strokes off the lead; Phil Mickelson had a rough start, with 4 bogeys in his first 11 holes, before birdieing 3 of the last 7 to finish with a 1-over 71, tied for 55th; Jordan Spieth finished even on the day at 70, 5 strokes back and tied for 55th after suffering a double-bogey 7, and newly minted folk hero Andrew “Beef” Johnson drew cheers along the way, was all over the place (including behind the scoreboard on 15), with 5 birdies and 5 bogeys to finish even.
Worst round of the day went to tour veteran Brad Lardon, among those featured in John Feinstein’s famous book about the 1995 PGA Tour “A Good Walk Spoiled,” who shot 6 bogeys, 2 double bogeys and a triple bogey for a 13-over 83, leaving him just 18 strokes off the lead.
Friday is shaping up to be a very wet day on he course, which was already damp from Monday’s rain, as the forecast calls for thunderstorms beginning around midnight and going as late as noon, with some parts of New Jersey under a flash flood warning.
Here’s the top of the leaderboard following Round 1:
And here are Friday’s tee times: