Walker sets first-round PGA pace with sixty five, Stenson two back

Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:03pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Jimmy Walker shrugged off some recent struggles to shoot a five-under-par 65 and claim the first-round lead in the PGA Championship at a hot, steamy Baltusrol Golf Club on Thursday.

Major winners were close behind.

Lurking in striking range was world number one and defending champion Jason Day who, despite not setting foot on the course until Wednesday, patiently plotted his way through the 7,328-yard layout to shoot 68.

British Open champion Henrik Stenson was even closer after a birdie at the par-five 18th for 67.

Despite lively afternoon winds and the wear and tear on the greens for the later starters, twice major winner Martin Kaymer of Germany posted a 66 to join Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and Englishman Ross Fisher in a tie for second.

Walker, who has missed four cuts in his last eight events including the U.S. Open and British Open, found his form at the year's last major.

"I just haven't been scoring, I haven't been making the 15, 18-footers you need to make to start running up the leaderboard," said Walker who won three times in 2014 and twice last year but has just three top-10s from 19 events this season.

The 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup player made good use of his putter on Thursday, making four birdies over his first nine after starting at 10 and gaining two more strokes at the first and seventh to take a one-shot lead.   Continued...

Jul 28, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Jimmy Walker awaits his putt on 17th hole during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports