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McIlroy shoots impressive 65 to lead PGA Championship

David Cannon / David Cannon Collection / Getty

Rory McIlroy shot his lowest opening-round score in a major since the 2011 U.S. Open on Thursday at Southern Hills to lead after the first round of the PGA Championship.

McIlroy, who teed off during the morning wave alongside Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, recorded the low round of the day with an impressive 5-under 65.

Americans Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge both shot 4-under 66 and sit in a tie for second. Matt Kuchar, Abraham Ancer, and Justin Thomas are two back after shooting rounds of 67.

1 Rory McIlroy 65 -5
T2 Will Zalatoris 66 -4
T2 Tom Hoge 66 -4
T4 Matt Kuchar 67 -3
T4 Abraham Ancer 67 -3
T4 Justin Thomas 67 -3
T7 Chris Kirk 68 -2
T7 Mito Pereira 68 -2
T7 Xander Schauffele 68 -2
T7 Cameron Smith 68 -2
T7 Kevin Na 68 -2
T7 Davis Riley 68 -2
T7 Matt Fitzpatrick 68 -2
T7 Lucas Herbert 68 -2
T7 Joaquin Niemann 68 -2 

All the players tied inside the top five had morning tee times except for Thomas, whose 67 on Thursday was his lowest opening-round score at the PGA Championship.

Woods, who won the last time the tournament was played at Southern Hills in 2007, posted a 4-over 74 in just his second major appearance since his car accident in February 2021.

Chasing a career Grand Slam this week, Spieth shot a 2-over 72 and is seven shots back.

The group of McIlroy, Woods, and Spieth, who hold 22 major championship titles combined, started on the course's back nine Thursday. The Northern Irishman got out in front quickly with four straight birdies between Nos. 12 and 15.

McIlroy made two bogeys and three birdies in his final nine holes en route to 65.

"I feel like this course, it lets you be pretty aggressive off the tee if you want to be," said McIlroy, according to ASAP Sports. "So I hit quite a lot of drivers out there and took advantage of my length and finished that off with some nice iron play and some nice putting."

The 33-year-old is one of the longest drivers on TOUR. He's currently ranked third in strokes gained: off-the-tee and eighth in driving distance with a 315.8-yard average.

It's the first time McIlroy opened a major with a score in the 60s since the 2019 U.S. Open.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who won the Masters Tournament last month, opened the PGA Championship with a 1-over 71. He was in a group with World No. 2 Jon Rahm and World No. 3 Collin Morikawa, who shot 73 and 72, respectively. They all teed off in the afternoon.

McIlroy will tee off alongside Spieth and Woods at 2:36 p.m. ET in the second round Friday.

McIlroy shoots impressive 65 to lead PGA Championship
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