Late birdies give Spieth steady start at Quail Hollow
|US PGA Championship 2017|
|Venue: Quail Hollow, Charlotte Dates: 10-13 August|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, Red Button and BBC Sport website. Listen to BBC Radio 5 live commentary and follow text updates – including in-play video clips – on website and mobile app. Click for full times.|
Jordan Spieth carded a one-over-par 72 in the US PGA Championship first round he bids to become the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam.
The American, 24, birdied two of his last three holes to end four shots off compatriots Grayson Murray and Brooks Koepka, who hold the clubhouse lead.
The US PGA is the only one of golf’s four majors Spieth is yet to win after victory at The Open last month.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was one of the late starters at Quail Hollow.
Victory for Spieth – who was Masters and US Open champion in 2015 – would see him surpass Tiger Woods as the youngest player to claim all four majors.
He turned 24 four days after his triumph at Royal Birkdale, while Woods was 24 years, seven months and 25 days when he completed the career grand slam by winning The Open in 2000.
Spieth started his round on the back nine with five straight pars before a birdie on the 15th.
He then made bogey on the par four 16th, the first of the fearsome three holes named ‘the Green Mile’ on the North Carolina course.
Another three bogeys followed on the front nine before a birdie-birdie-par finish to close on the leaders.
‘Green Mile’ eats up Garcia
The final three holes at Quail Hollow measure 1,223 yards in total and have developed a reputation as one of the toughest closing stretches in golf.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia was the first to struggle there on the opening day, dropping five shots on the ‘Green Mile’ – although the Spaniard steadied on the front nine to finish on four over par.
Garcia was playing alongside Spieth and US Open champion Koepka, the trio making up 2017’s major winners so far.
American Koepkafared best with five birdies in his round of 68, which gave him a share of the early clubhouse lead.
England’s Paul Casey finished on two under, making him the best placed Briton among the early starters, while compatriots Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Wood are one under and one over respectively.