Tiger rides roller-coaster round to 72 at PGA

Brooks Koepka will try to defend his PGA Championship starting on Thursday at Bethpage Black

Brooks Koepka will try to defend his PGA Championship starting on Thursday at Bethpage Black

He'll also be tasked with holding off a star-studded field that includes reigning champion Brooks Koepka as well as two-time victor Rory McIlroy.

Friday is cutdown day at the PGA Championship.

At times during Thursday's first round, the extended layoff, which included skipping out on Wednesday's practice round because he felt sick, seemed like a mistake. "I think it's deceiving to look at first two days versus last two because I think I just got away with stuff random days that happened to be coupled together".

Of those who have completed their second rounds at the Long Island course in NY state, three-time major victor Jordan Spieth shot a four-under 66 to set the clubhouse target on five under, still two behind Koepka. Fowler and Spieth both bounced back from double bogeys on 10 to finish the first 18 holes under par, including birdies on 18.

Koepka shot a course-record, seven-under 63 at Bethpage Black in round one to lead the PGA Championship by one over Danny Lee, and over the rest of the field by considerably more. "My teammates told me it's not in my genetics, but I'd like to prove them wrong".

Woods said there were no issues with his back or his fitness, and he made no excuses over the layoff between starts.

Koepka failed to birdie the two par 5s, missing a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 13 and scrambling for par on the easier fourth hole.

"It wasn't as clean as I'd like to have it, for sure", Woods said. That sloping course was the site of Koepka's breakout and it's not hard to see the same story playing out by the time the Sunday sun sets on Long Island.

Lee birdied three of the last four holes on the front nine, then Nos.

"And at that point, it will be just more trying to win a golf tournament".

Tiger Woods, in his first competitive round since winning the Masters a month ago, putted poorly for a 72 in the company of Koepka.

Koepka was in a star-studded threesome with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari.

He is the first player to ride in a cart at a major since Casey Martin in the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in 1998 and 2012.

And this time, Tiger Woods was along for the ride.

Four-time major victor Rory McIlroy, who closed with his lone birdie to open on 72 is another early starter.

"That was probably the (worst) score he could have shot today", Woods said. Only two have gone on to win: Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open and Raymond Floyd in the 1982 PGA Championship. "I think once in a while, they have these major setups, and I enjoy the challenge".

The 43-year-old quickly recovered from the setback, though, as he carded pars at his next two holes to remain at two over par. "I guess that would have been pretty good".

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