2022 PGA Championship standings breakdown: Stars shine in round one with Rory McIlroy alone at the top

2022 PGA Championship standings breakdown: Stars shine in round one with Rory McIlroy alone at the top

TULSA, Okla. – Round 1 of the 2022 PGA Championship delivered fabulous golf, scorching heat and an unbelievably star-studded ranking at Southern Hills Country Club. At the top over 18 holes is two-time PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy, who stands as the solo leader amid a crowded list of contenders after clocking a 5-under-65 pace.

Yet as well as McIlroy played – and he played really well! – it’s far from over after 18 holes as there are a host of big names on its course entering Round 2 on Friday. Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge are the most immediate threats to overthrow McIlroy at the top of the standings after finishing one of McIlroy’s leaders with 4 under 66s. But with 54 holes left to play, the field remains wide open. Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar and Abraham Ancer are each two steps off the pace with more than half a dozen golfers – including Xander Schauffele and Cameron Smith – sitting three behind the lead at 2 under.

While the stars gathered near the top, not all of the big names made it through their first lap. Tiger Woods struggled, finishing 4 in his quest to win his second PGA at Southern Hills 15 years after his classic 2007 win. Jordan Spieth also spat early in the week, his tough outing ending at 2. And Brooks Koepka and Patrick Cantlay also had forgettable rounds, shooting 75 and 76 respectively. Even the ever-steady Jon Rahm had its ups and downs before finishing 3-point down.

There’s a lot of action to recap from that day, so let’s do just that. Below is an overview of the standings as they stand after the first round.

1. Rory McIlroy (-5): McIlroy’s 5-under 65 was his lowest score in a first round at a major tournament since the 2011 US Open in Congress, an event he went on to win. It’s only the fourth time he’s opened a major with 66 or better, according to Justin Ray. And if history is a lesson, that makes McIlroy a clear favorite to win given that he’s done exactly that the previous three times, he’s scored this low on the first 18 holes. It’s been eight years since he last did that, of course, but it was also his last major title (a PGA Championship win at Valhalla). He displayed classic Rory swagger all afternoon, and that was largely because his short game was among the best in the field to open the tournament.

T2. Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge (-4): Zalatoris is a notoriously below average putter, so of course to open up his turn he was fabulous with the flatstick going several longs to keep it afloat and he led the pack in strokes gained in putting. Probably not sustainable, but he said after the round that something seemed to click for him on Wednesday in the week leading up to his PGA prep, especially with the putter. If he can marry putting with the distance he already has, the 66 suddenly seems like something he can match heading into the weekend. Meanwhile, Hoge had an up-and-down start but really activated it on his final 10 holes, going 33-33. This course demands precise iron play around the greens, and it did it in a big way. After getting his career-best major result at the Masters, his approach game is clean and fresh enough to at least have him in the mix heading into the weekend.

T4. Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar and Abraham Ancer (-3): Thomas is the headliner of this group, this is his best score in the first round of the PGA Championship in seven starts. Kuchar had a bogey-free front nine to push him to a first-round 67, in which he won nearly two shots on the approach, which this week is the name of the game. (Coming out of the bunker at nine o’clock helped.) Ancer, whose turn was filled with the lingering shout of “Boomer!” by OU fans, played the par 4 to 3 under the turn and had a great day putting, even converting several from long range.

T7. Xander Schauele, Cameron Smith and nine others (-2): Schauffele quietly had a strong first-round 68 with just two bogeys (14, 18) mixed in. Tee to green he was awesome, and his approach game was good enough to keep him in the hunt. Speaking of: Smith was even better at it, leading the pack in the shot-winning approach. If not for a double at 12, Smith sits easily with the day’s business in his back pocket.

T66. Jordan Spieth and 22 others (+2): Spieth lost more than one shot on the course in round 1. He hit more greens than he missed but got left in horrible spots even when he was hitting the greens. This course is punitive if you do that. It’s both a miracle that he’s 2 out and at the same time infuriating because he could have easily been in the red sitting in a different spot going into Round 2.

T102. Tiger Woods and 14 others (+4): At least Thursday started well for Tiger — he birdied the 10th, his first, just like he did when he won in 2007 — but it certainly didn’t end well. He had five bogeys in his last nine holes and appeared to become physically exhausted as the day went on, with a noticeable gimp becoming even more pronounced after his round was over. How he would hold up this week has always been a question after struggling to finish at the Masters last month, and it again seems a valid concern as he faces Friday with a real threat of missing the cut.

CBS Sports has updated this story with PGA Championship scores and highlights below. Check out a more detailed ranking and our full list TV Schedule / PGA Championship Coverage Guide.

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