US PGA Championship 2016: Rory McIlroy nine off lead at Baltusrol

By Peter ScrivenerBBC Sport
Rory McIlroy
McIlroy has not won a major since winning the US PGA Championship at Valhalla in 2014
US PGA Championship, round one leaderboard
-5 J Walker (US); -4 R Fisher (Eng), E Grillo (Arg), M Kaymer (Ger); -3 H English (US), J Hahn (US), A Sullivan (Eng), H Stenson (Swe)
Selected others:-2 J Day (Aus), R Fowler (US); -1 B Dredge (Wal), C Wood (Eng), P Casey (Eng), L Westwood (Eng), J Donaldson (Wal); Level A Johnston (Eng), J Spieth (US), R Knox (Sco), J Rose (Eng); +1 S Garcia (Spa), B Watson (US), D Willett (Eng); +2 L Donald (Eng); +4 R McIlroy (NI); +7 D Johnson (US)
Full leaderboard

Rory McIlroy lies nine shots off the lead after carding a four-over-par 74 in the first round of the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

The Northern Irishman had three bogeys in his first seven holes in a birdie-free round at the final major of 2016.

American Jimmy Walker leads on five under, one clear of England's Ross Fisher, Martin Kaymer of Germany and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina.

Defending champion Jason Day shot a 68 and England's Andrew Johnston had a 70.

Johnston, nicknamed 'Beef', delighted crowds at The Open earlier this month and was again centre of attention in New Jersey, high-fiving spectators on his way to the green after playing a remarkable shot under tree branches but over a scoreboard on the 15th.

Take a peek inside Andrew 'Beef' Johnston's house

Compatriot Andy Sullivan birdied three of his last four holes to finish with a three-under 67.

"I'm buzzing with that start," said the former supermarket worker, who has finished 12th, sixth and fifth in his past three events.

Major winners have mixed day

(l-r) Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson and Danny Willett
Stenson, Johnson and Willett were the big group of the afternoon starters at Baltusrol

The US PGA Championship traditionally puts the winners of the year's three previous majors together for the opening two rounds so Masters champion Danny Willett, US Open winner Dustin Johnson and Open victor Henrik Stenson were the marquee group.

World number five Stenson, who held off Phil Mickelson to win at Troon, fared the best of the trio with five birdies and two bogeys in his three-under 67.

American Johnson, ranked second in the world, had a dreadful opening, with a double bogey and three bogeys in his first seven holes.

A birdie on the par-three ninth was the only highlight in his seven-over 77 that featured another double bogey on the 11th and a bogey on the par-five 18th after his drive landed in water.

Englishman Willett opened with five pars but a birdie and two bogeys in the next four holes saw him reach the turn in one over and that is how he stayed after birdies on the 15th and 18th cancelled out bogeys on the 11th and 13th holes.

Poor putting costs McIlroy

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy's previous US PGA Championship wins have come in Ryder Cup years

The world number four was playing alongside Day and Mickelson.

McIlroy missed two birdie putts in his first two holes and would end up taking 35 shots with the putter.

"Tee to green is not the problem, but when I get to the greens it's a different story," said the 27-year-old, who won in 2012 and 2014 and has recorded three other top-eight finishes in seven appearances in the US PGA Championship.

"I had a couple of chances early on that I could not convert and then missed a couple of greens and did not get up and down and I was always chasing it from there.

"I really struggled with the pace. They look much quicker than they are and two or three times I had putts within 12 feet that were downhill and left them short.

"I need to be more aggressive and shoot something in the mid-60s and get into the weekend."

Day, who had only one practice round after catching a bug from his son and then spending Tuesday night in hospital after his wife Ellie suffered an allergic reaction, had three birdies and a bogey in his two-under round.

"It's not the first time that the kids and myself and Ellie have been sick," said the Australian, who hit 17 greens in regulation.

"It's not going to be the last time. It's speed bumps that you have got to try and slow down and get around. Come out and execute."

Mickelson, who briefly joined McIlroy at four over, battled back to one over with three birdies in five holes.

A clean sweep of first-time winners?

The last year in which all four majors were claimed by first-time winners was 2011, when Charl Schwartzel won the US Masters, McIlroy the US Open, Darren Clarke The Open and Keegan Bradley the US PGA.

Walker, who won five times between October 2013 and March 2015 but has struggled this year, would join Willett, Johnson and Stenson as a first-time winner were he to hold on.

"I feel like I've prepared and I'm ready to go," said the 37-year-old. "Winning a major would be huge but there's three days to go.

"It's been a stale and stagnant year. I haven't been making the 18-footers you need to make to start running up the leaderboard and to have high finishes."

The British challenge

Fisher leads the way after carding five birdies in his four-under 66. "I've got off to a great start, but I'm not going to sit back on that," he said.

Fellow Englishmen Chris Wood, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood - who finished with a birdie and an eagle on the final two holes, both par fives - opened with one-under-par 69s, the same score as Welsh duo Bradley Dredge and Jamie Donaldson.

England's Justin Rose battled back from two over after 10 to finish level par, while Scotland's Russell Knox birdied the ninth, his last, to also post 70.

How did the world's top 10 fair?

Jordan Spieth
Spieth played his ball out of bunkers, deep rough and trees during a wild round

World number three Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters and US Open last year, drove erratically, hitting fewer than half of the fairways - but scrambled well to post a level-par 70 that featured one double bogey, two birdies and 15 pars.

Bubba Watson, ranked sixth, was three over after 10 holes but birdied the 649-yard par-five 17th and then hit a 380-yard drive on the par-five last to help set up another birdie to finish on one over.

Rickie Fowler bogeyed his opening hole, the 10th, but four birdies in his next eight saw the world number seven reach halfway on three under and the American signed for a two-under 68.

Australia's Adam Scott had two bogeys and two birdies in a level-par start to his challenge, while Spain's Sergio Garcia birdied the second but fell away to two over before a birdie on the par-five 18th lifted him back to one over.

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