Fowler and Koepka lay strong foundation for week ahead
Confident Matsuyama lurking dangerously
Story so far
Rickie Fowler assumed USPGA Championship favouritism after round one at Quail Hollow, North Carolina, despite carding a triple-bogey at the fifth hole.
Fowler found a fairway bunker off the tee, then tried to reach the green with his second shot, failing to take enough loft to get out of the sand. His ball hit the lip of the bunker and returned to his feet. Two more poor shots, an over-aggressive chip and two putts later, a seven went on the scorecard.
The calm Californian responded well to the setback, though, and his round included six birdies. A two-under-par 69 saw him shorten from 16-1 to 7-1 in the outright betting.
Brooks Koepka is second in bookmakers' lists, the US Open champion cruising to a 68 on his Quail Hollow debut. Thorbjorn Olesen and Kevin Kisner, 200-1 and 100-1 respectively in the pre-tournament odds, were joint first-round leaders at four under par.
Jordan Spieth got off to a steady but unspectacular start in his quest for a career Grand Slam of Majors. The Texan shot a one-over-par 72, a score matched by Rory McIlroy later in the day. World number one Dustin Johnson is one under.
-4 Thorbjorn Olesen, Kevin Kisner
-3 Grayson Murray, Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka, Chris Stroud, DA Points
-2 Tony Finau, Jim Herman, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey, Rickie Fowler, Bud Cauley, Brian Harman
-1 Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day, Jon Rahm
+1 Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy
7 R Fowler, 8 B Koepka, 10 H Matsuyama, 11 D Johnson, R McIlroy, 18 J Rahm, J Spieth, K Kisner, 25 bar
Rickie Fowler will be kicking himself for being greedy at the fifth hole – it was a schoolboy error to take a club which risked hitting the lip of the fairway bunker – but this cool dude handled the adversity superbly to keep his USPGA title challenge on track.
Fowler and Brooks Koepka, who missed some good chances in a fairly straightforward 68, look set to be strong title contenders over the next three days. Hikeki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are lurking dangerously just off the pace.
Play seems likely to be badly affected by thunderstorms today, with suspensions almost inevitable. Fowler is due off at 1.25pm, with Rory McIlroy and Rahm, while Koepka is scheduled for a 6.35pm, with Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia. There is a good chance the latter group will have to wait until Saturday to start their second round.
Second-round threeball punters are pointed towards WGC-Bridgestone Invitational champion Matsuyama, who should crush Ian Poulter and Ernie Els (5.55pm).
Matsuyama can be put in a double with Tony Finau (5.40pm), who should again have far too much firepower for Fabrizio Zanotti and Adam Rainaud. Finau beat Zanotti by 11 shots in round one, and Rainaud by 12.
H Matsuyama (5-8) & T Finau (4-9)
3pts double Betway