PGA Championship Leaderboard 2016: Updating Results and Standings for Friday

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2016

Jimmy Walker will try to build off a strong opening round in the PGA Championship.
Jimmy Walker will try to build off a strong opening round in the PGA Championship.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Going into the first round of the PGA Championship, it appeared likely that U.S. Open winner Dustin Johnson and two-time PGA champion Rory McIlroy would have a chance to dominate the leaderboard.

That's not very likely after 18 holes, as Johnson blew up with a 77 and McIlroy struggled to a 74.

However, Jimmy Walker was more than happy to take up the slack as he raced out to a first-round lead after shooting a five-under 65. The 37-year-old rode a red-hot putter to gain a one-stroke lead over Martin Kaymer along with relative unknowns Emiliano Grillo and Ross Fisher.

Walker has had a difficult year and has not won a tournament since the 2015 Valero Open—he also has just three top-10 finishes this season.

“It’s just been real stale and stagnant,” Walker told Helen Ross of PGATour.com. “It’s just the ebbs and flows of golf. Just haven’t been scoring. Haven’t been making the 10- to 15-, 18-footers you need to make to start running up the leaderboard and to have high finishes.”

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The Oklahoma native's good start puts him in a position to change the arc of his season, but it will take consistent play in the second, third and fourth rounds. He knows he hasn't demonstrated that kind of performance this season, so it's a matter of grinding out shot after shot and not getting done in by one or two bad holes.

While Walker is trying to turn his season around, Henrik Stenson is trying to pick up where he left off after winning the British Open. The Swede birdied three of the final seven holes in the opening round, and his three-under 67 left him just two strokes behind Walker. 

Stenson was playing with Masters champion Danny Willett and Johnson, and he clearly had the best score in that threesome since the green jacket winner shot a one-over 71.

The 40-year-old said this is the busiest part of the golf season and he has much more work to do, and it's not a matter of being satisfied with holding the British Open championship.


Henrik Stenson is playing some incredible golf these days. #PGAChamp https://t.co/Z4MWdYBkLL

“It's about enjoying it, but at the same time, we've got to move on. We're in the middle of a busy season. I've got a lot of golf to play," Stenson told Ben Everill of PGATour.com. “It's this week here, the final major, and then we have the Olympics, the FedExCup, the Ryder Cup, Race to Dubai. It's going to be a great season for me, but at the same time I want to give myself a chance to try to make it the best season."

Rickie Fowler's performance in the first round was certainly among the more notable scores. Fowler fired a two-under 68, and that has left him in a position to attack the top of the leaderboard. That's a far cry from some of his other major performances this year, as he failed to make the cut in the Masters and U.S. Open and was not a contender during the British Open (tied for 46th).

The 27-year-old has admitted that he has not played well in the biggest tournaments this year, but he feels like he's starting to get somewhat better. 

"It's heading in the right direction," Fowler told Kyle Porter of CBSSports. "Out here the highest level, if you are off just a little bit, I mean, especially in a major, it picks you apart and it shows."

Rickie Fowler is trying to salvage his 2016 major season in the PGA Championship.
Rickie Fowler is trying to salvage his 2016 major season in the PGA Championship.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Fowler's opening round left him tied with defending champion Jason Day. There appears to be a good chance that Day will remain in contention throughout the tournament because he hit the ball so well in the opening round. His 68 would have been much lower, but he was not successful with his putter, and that has been one of his greatest strengths this season.

"Drove it very nicely and hit a lot of good iron shots," Day said after his round (h/t Porter). "I just didn't capitalize on the opportunities that I had out there and it's not disappointing. It is what it is."

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Louis Oosthuizen in the hunt at US PGA https://t.co/VsQwgOG0QH https://t.co/0IAtg0bAMT

Golf fans should also keep an eye on Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka throughout the remainder of the tournament. The sweet-swinging Oosthuizen also shot a 68 in the opening round and has shown he can string together accurate shots in the biggest tournaments.

Koepka also fired a two-under 68 in the opening round, and the 26-year-old Floridian ranks 22nd in FedEx Cup points and 18th in the World rankings. One of the keys for Koepka throughout the rest of the tournament is his accuracy off the tee.

He finds the fairway 58.32 percent of the time, and that ranks 121st on the tour. If he can improve that just a bit, Koepka should have a chance to find his name on the leaderboard throughout the remainder of the PGA Championship.


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