Schauffele leads PGA with record round, Smith three-under after superb save


“I actually hit the ball quite well for probably the first 12 or 13 holes there,” Smith said.

“Kind of let go of it a little bit at the end, but everything felt really good and I managed to get a few good par saves and keep the momentum going for tomorrow.”

Cameron Smith’s three-under opener has him six shots off the lead.

Cameron Smith’s three-under opener has him six shots off the lead.Credit: Getty

Seizing on the rain-softened conditions at Valhalla, Schauffele, coming off a runner-up finish last week in the Wells Fargo Championship, played the back nine in 31 and then ran off three birdies in a four-hole stretch in the middle of the front nine, all the putts inside 10 feet.

His ninth and final birdie was a long two-putt on the par-5 seventh, and it helped him seal the fourth-ever round of 62 in a major, alongside Branden Grace in the 2017 British Open, at Royal Birkdale, as well as Rickie Fowler, who like him, achieved the feat at last year’s US Open.

The previous best round at the PGA was a 63, with one of those being Jose Maria Olazabal’s course record at Valhalla 10 years ago.

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Schauffele, who struck Olympic gold in Tokyo and is one of the best players not yet to win a major, had nine birdies in his round and didn’t drop a shot in an immaculate display.

At his last hole, a 33-foot putt would have given him the first 61 in a major, but it slid right of the cup and he had to make a three-footer to end his round.

Tiger Woods saw another solid effort unravel near the end of his round as he carded a 72, the same disappointing opening that his veteran Australian playing partner and friend, Adam Scott, also recorded.

“That wasn’t the way I like to finish off a round,” Woods said. “Long way to go, and we’ll see what happens.”

Cameron Davis had a day to forget, carding a seven-over 78 to sit in 151st, ahead of only five players including 1991 winner John Daly (+11). Jeff Kellen of the US is last of all after a 16-over 87.

Agencies

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