US PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele leads as Rory McIlroy starts well

After toiling at Augusta National in April where he eventually ended in a tie for 45th, Rahm endured a start to forget and looked far from at ease with his own game.

Having spent the early part of the round in and out of the rough he rallied wonderfully but his frustrations were clearly evident when he tossed his iron into the fairway after pulling his approach to the 16th green.

However, birdies on the 17th and 18th, his fourth and fifth on the back nine, completed a superb damage limitation exercise for the Spaniard.

Cameron Smith, the 2022 Open champion, who remarkably saved par on the seventh hole after playing his second from the water in bare feet, was among a group on three under, alongside Norway’s Viktor Hovland.

Jordan Spieth, who is making his seventh attempt to become the sixth player to complete the Grand Slam of winning all four majors, started with a solid 69 to be level with his good friend and two-time winner Justin Thomas, who was well supported by his hometown crowd.

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald was in the first group out at 07:25 local time and he carded a one-under 70, the same score as fellow Englishmen Justin Rose and Matt Wallace.

Tyrrell Hatton is one further back while Tommy Fleetwood carded a one-over 72.

Tiger Woods, who won the 2000 US PGA title at Valhalla to claim the third leg of what would become his ‘Tiger Slam’, conceded he “struggled from tee to green” after closing with successive bogeys as he also posted a 72.

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