Woods, McIlroy & Koepka tee off as US PGA heralds return of major golf

By Sports Desk August 06, 2020

Tiger Woods made a flying start but two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka dropped an early shot as the US PGA Championship got under way on Thursday.

Golf's first major championship of the disrupted 2020 season was in its early stages at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, and Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas were in a star-studded group among the early starters.

The Woods-McIlroy-Thomas group got going at 08:33 local time (16:33 BST), beginning on the back nine, and all three made birdies at their opening hole, the par-five 10th.

Koepka went out at 08:11 local time, also starting at the 10th, and was joined by a pair of reigning major champions in US Open winner Gary Woodland and Open Championship victor Shane Lowry.

Winner of this tournament in 2018 and 2019, Koepka found rough to the right of the green at the par-three 11th, going on to miss from inside seven feet for par.

His par attempt lipped out, leaving a short bogey putt.

Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson formed another eye-catching group, with the former dropping an early shot while his playing partners both moved to one under par after two holes.

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    The Englishman made a dream start to the 2021 Race to Dubai, closing with a six-under round to end the week well clear on 18 under.

    Jason Scrivener matched world number nine Hatton in posting a 66 thanks to an impressive back nine, seeing him finish in second place, a shot ahead of McIlroy.

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    The American, whose only previous PGA Tour win came at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016, fired a five-under 67 in the third round in California on Saturday.

    Finau was four under through 12 holes in his round before finding water and making a double bogey at the par-three 13th.

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    Overnight leader Im Sung-jae slipped back to a tie for 20th after finding the water three times during his round, including twice at the ninth.

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