Fleetwood three behind in US PGA championship

TOMMY Fleetwood is three shots of the pace after posting a one-under-par 70 on the first day of the US PGA Championship as Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen led the way alongside American Kevin Kisner.

The Lancastrian said: “The course is brutal, It’s a really tough test. Anything par or beating the course is a great score. So in the practice rounds, it’s either playing rock hard and windy or it’s been really wet with the rain and playing miles.

“So when you get into the tournament, you never know what to expect. I’m just really happy to be off the course at one-under.

“There’s not a let-up, really. You’ve never got one shot where you kind of feel you can go easy for ten minutes or you have a little rest. It’s just five hours of really tough golf.”

Olesen is aiming to become the first player from Denmark to win one of golf’s big four and entered this week in good form after a top ten at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he finished with a 65.

A birdie at the second hole got his round up and running before he bounced back from a bogey at the par three sixth with back-to-back birdies. Three birdies in his final five holes, paired with a second dropped shot of the day at the 17th, took the four-time European Tour winner home in 34 for a 67.

On a day when only 24 players broke par at a tricky Quail Hollow Club, Patrick Reed was the next best-placed European Tour member in a tie for eighth on two under par, while Spain’s John Rahm, Pat Perez of the USA and England’s Jordan Smith matched Fleetwood’s scores,

Rory McIlroy, chasing a third US PGA Championship title and a fifth Major, was two shots further back after three dropped shots in two holes on the back nine stymied his charge and left him with a one over par 72 – alongside Grand Slam-chasing American Jordan Spieth, among others.

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