• Jordan Spieth chips in for birdie on 16th to secure one-under first round
  • Rory McIlroy and Spieth were playing in same group on Thursday
  • American favourite could have shot lower had he made most of chances
  • Read: Rory McIlroy is back with a stroke of genius as Dustin Johnson leads

Doug Ferguson, Ap Golf Writer

The World No 1 and world No 2 provided the main event at Whistling Straits on Thursday, even though Dustin Johnson eventually claimed a one-shot lead.

Rory McIlroy had the right leg of his pants rolled up as he hit out of the water. Jordan Spieth couldn’t make a putt.

While Johnson breezed his way to a 66 in the morning to build a lead over David Lingmerth of Sweden, McIlroy and American favourite Spieth found it tough to make birdies later on in the day. Call it a draw.

World No 2 Jordan Spieth's putting let him down in the first round of the US PGA Championship on Thursday

World No 2 Jordan Spieth’s putting let him down in the first round of the US PGA Championship on Thursday

The American favourite, who has won two majors this year, shows his frustration at Whistling Straits

The American favourite, who has won two majors this year, shows his frustration at Whistling Straits

Spieth was playing in the same group as world No 1 Rory McIlroy and both carded scores of 71

Spieth had one birdie chance after another on the front nine and missed them all. 

When he started to press, he missed an easy opportunity on the 10th and then three-putted from about 15 feet on the par-5 11th to make bogey.

Right when the round was getting away from him, Spieth chipped in for birdie on the 16th and wound up with a 71.

‘We really battled back after 10 and 11, which were disappointing holes for me, to salvage an under par round and really stay in this tournament,’ the 22-year-old said. 

‘If I didn’t get that good break on 12, it could have been a different story the rest of the round.’ 

Meanwhile, McIlroy handled all of the par 5s, including the fifth hole when he pulled his third shot into the water. He turned what could have been a double bogey into par when he splashed out to seven feet to save par.

A bogey on the final hole sent McIlroy to a 71, a reasonable score for a guy competing for the first time in 53 days.

Spieth hits his second shot on the eighth hole during round one of the PGA Championship

Spieth hits his second shot on the eighth hole during round one of the PGA Championship

Crowds gather as the American hits his tee shot on the 10th during a tricky afternoon in Wisconsin

Crowds gather as the American hits his tee shot on the 10th during a tricky afternoon in Wisconsin

Spieth will hope to make his charge at the last major of the year on Friday and the weekend

Spieth will hope to make his charge at the last major of the year on Friday and the weekend

 

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