Hearn grabs early PGA lead

David Hearn (AFP)
David Hearn (AFP)
Rochester - Canada's David Hearn fired a four-under par 66 to seize the clubhouse lead Thursday at the PGA Championship while top-ranked Tiger Woods struggled to stay under par at Oak Hill.

Hearn, who grew up five blocks from ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky's home, opened with a bogey but responded with birdies at the second, the par-5 fourth and the par-3 sixth holes, began the back nine birdie-birdie and added another at the par-4 16th before closing with a bogey.

Hearn achieved his best US PGA Tour finish last month, losing a playoff at the John Deere Classic on the fifth extra hole to US teen Jordan Spieth, who became the tour's youngest winner since 1931.

Jim Furyk, the 2003 US Open winner, was on five under with four holes to play in the first round of the year's final major tournament. Australian Marcus Fraser was four under with three holes remaining.

England's Paul Casey and American Robert Garrigus were in the clubhouse on three-under 67 with Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Americans Steve Stricker and Jason Dufner finishing on 68.

Woods, a 14-time major winner seeking his first major title since the 2008 US Open, was one-under par with four holes remaining.

Woods, seeking a record-tying fifth PGA Championship crown, began on the back nine and birdied the par-5 13th and sank an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-3 15th and saved pars at 17 and 18 after missing the green.

But Woods found trouble on the front side, missing a four-footer for birdie at the second and finding rough and a bunker on his way to a bogey at the par-5 fourth. He made a motion after his second shot as if to throw his club before holding onto it and his temper.

Woods collected his fifth title of the year last week at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational by seven strokes for his eighth career triumph at Firestone, a run that included a second-round 61 to match the lowest round of his career.

Casey opened with a bogey at the 10th, birdied the first two holes on the front nine and answered a birdie at the third with back-to-back birdies on the next two holes and another birdie at the par-4 seventh.

Garrigus, a back-nine starter, led early after birdies at the 11th, 12th and par-5 13th holes. After stumbling with a birdie at the 18th, he answered with a birdie at the second and par-5 fourth to reach four-under, and then followed bogeys with birdies over his final four holes.

Garrigus, whose father Tom was a shooting gold medallist at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, won his only PGA crown at Disney World in 2010.

Kiradech birdied the ninth and 10th holes and answered a bogey at the 12th with a birdie at 13. Nicknamed the "Asian John Daly" for his hefty physique and attacking style, he won his first European Tour event this year at the Malaysian Open after taking the Asian Tour's 2011 SAIL Open in India.

Clear skies made for perfect playing conditions after an overnight storm did little to ease the formidable 7 163-yard, par-70 layout.

The feature group of the year's first three major winners -- Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia, US Open champion Justin Rose of England and British Open winner Phil Mickelson of the United States -- was set to start off the first tee at 13:45 (19:45 SA time).

Two groups ahead of them will be defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who has struggled this season following an equipment change.

Other contenders with afternoon tee times include Aussie Jason Day, England's Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, South African Tim Clark and American Bubba Watson.

Scores during the opening round of the 95th PGA Championship at 7 163-yard Oak Hill Country Club (par 70):

65 - Jim Furyk (USA)
66 - David Hearn (CAN)
67 - Robert Garrigus (USA), Paul Casey (ENG), Matt Kuchar (USA), Marcus Fraser (AUS)
68 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA), Steve Stricker (USA), Jason Dufner (USA), Bill Haas (USA), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP)
69 - Charley Hoffman (USA), Billy Horschel (USA), Tommy Gainey (USA), Sergio Garcia (ESP), Keegan Bradley (USA), David Lynn (ENG)
70 - Mark Leishman (AUS), Hunter Mahan (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Thomas Bjorn (DEN), Bernd Wiesberger (AUT)
71 - Shane Lowry (IRL), Matt Every (USA), Luke Guthrie (USA), Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN), Josh Teater (USA), Rich Beem (USA), J.J. Henry (USA), David Toms (USA), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Tiger Woods (USA), Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Branden Grace (RSA)
72 - John Senden (AUS), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Michael Thompson (USA), Richard Sterne (RSA), Yang Yong-Eun (KOR), Peter Hanson (SWE), Dustin Johnson (USA), Paul Lawrie (SCO)
73 - Bob Sowards (USA), Ryan Palmer (USA), Marcel Siem (GER), Scott Brown (USA), Ben Curtis (USA), Brian Gay (USA), Ryan Polzin (USA)
74 - Bob Gaus (USA), Ernie Els (RSA), David Lingmerth (SWE), Davis Love (USA), David McNabb (USA)
75 - Mark Sheftic (USA), Stewart Cink (USA), Stephen Gallacher (SCO), Caine Fitzgerald (USA)
76 - Pablo Larrazabal (ESP), Shaun Micheel (USA), Padraig Harrington (IRL), KJ Choi (KOR)
77 - Peter Uihlein (USA)
78 - Rob Labritz (USA)
80 - Bo Van Pelt (USA)
loading... Live
Barcelona 1
FC Bayern München 4
loading... Live
England 0
Pakistan 223/9 (86 ov)
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
44% - 5988 votes
11% - 1491 votes
19% - 2579 votes
2% - 314 votes
1% - 126 votes
2% - 308 votes
5% - 665 votes
8% - 1113 votes
3% - 424 votes
Water sports
1% - 123 votes
American sports
1% - 134 votes
3% - 398 votes