PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka off to bogey-free start at Bethpage

John Daly enjoys a cigarette during Wednesday's practice round

The PGA Championship is now the second major after being brought forward from its traditional August slot.

One shot behind the unheralded five, is a star-studded group of major champions at one-under par.

"Confidence has been there", Spieth said.

"I don't see any reason it can't get to double digits".

Tiger Woods of the United States chews gum on the second hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. But he doesn't expect that to create extra pressure. That helps explain why he has not had a top-10 finish since he tied for ninth at Carnoustie previous year. "I'm playing good", Koepka said. "This is a pretty good test of getting around".

Spieth's charge came before Koepka teed off.

Masters champion Tiger Woods had an up-and-down first round, finishing with a 2-over 72.

Brooks Koepka produced a stunning start to his PGA Championship title defence to open up a one-stroke advantage after his record-breaking opening round. "Let's be honest", said the South Korean-born New Zealand citizen and resident of Texas, who married in 2017 and became a father last fall. "I felt like I had to be within six or seven going into the weekend". Spieth started at No. 10 played his opening seven holes at 1-over par in his second round, but his putts started dropping on the front nine. He didn't hit the fairway.

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But three bogeys over his final five holes ended the day on a sour note for the 43-year-old.

"I think there's only been a couple weeks where Thursday, Friday was good, and it was mainly just because of one round here or there where I holed out a shot", Spieth said. I'm not really concerned about what's going on. Hit the ball well.

Meanwhile, Koepka hit 9 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, but took just 25 putts. Gave myself some good looks at birdies. This is not the first time he's performed well to open a major.

But Thursday morning at Bethpage Black, Koepka had his chance to compete against Woods in a much more favorable arena.

A victory would match Woods with Sam Snead for the all-time US PGA win record at 82 and move him two shy of the all-time major win record of 18 set by Jack Nicklaus - as well as put Woods halfway to a calendar Grand Slam for the first time since 2002.

His lead is only one, remarkably, as New Zealander Danny Lee followed him in with a six-under 64, with Tommy Fleetwood the next on the leaderboard back at three-under par.

Danny Lee was almost as impressive and made eight birdies in the afternoon, including the final two holes.

One positive: Woods knows the score he needs to shoot by going off in one of the final groups of the day, with the projected 18-hole score needed nearly certainly to be under par or close to it. Woods, at one point Thursday, was as much as 3 over but rallied to get to 1 under before stumbling at the end of his round to post the 2-over 72. "So, I'd say that in terms of the scoring between the two sides of the draw, I'd say ours was maybe a shot tougher". "I didn't keep it together at the end".

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