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The Latest: Spieth posts 72 on fast greens of Quail Hollow

By The Associated Press
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Jordan Spieth says he didn't feel as "free rolling" as he thought he would be on Thursday. He still managed a 72 for a reasonable start to the PGA Championship and his quest for the career Grand Slam.

The greens were rolling just fine.

The putting surfaces at Quail Hollow are so firm and fast that players had a hard time holing putts early in the opening round. Spieth says he was putting defensively. U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka missed a half-dozen putts from 12 feet or closer and still shot 68. He was happy with his round because it was hard to make putts.

___

Noon

Sergio Garcia is the first big name tripped up by Quail Hollow Club's "Green Mile."

The Masters champion struggled on the course's challenging three-hole finishing stretch during his opening round Thursday.

Garcia, who started his round on No. 10, made the turn after double bogeys on a pair of par-4 holes — Nos. 16 and 18 — sandwiched around a bogey on the par-3 17th.

By noon, nobody shot better than par on the 16th. Charley Hoffman had the lone birdie on the 18th, and the only two birdies on the 17th belonged to Ernie Els and Tommy Fleetwood.

___

11:30 a.m.

The "Green Mile" at Quail Hollow Club has been tough on everyone at the PGA Championship — even a course marshal.

A briefly scary moment unfolded during Thursday's early rounds when Brooks Koepka's drive on No. 16 hit the marshal. The shot sailed wide right and struck the marshal near the ropes.

Video posted on the PGA of America's Twitter feed showed Koepka checking on the marshal and signing a glove for him as he laid on the ground. The man smiled and appeared to thank the U.S. Open champion for the gesture.

The ball wound up in the fairway, and Koepka went on to bogey the par-4 hole — the first of the course's challenging "Green Mile" finishing stretch of three holes.

A PGA of America official said later that the course marshal was fine but went home for the day.

___

10:40 a.m.

South Africa's Ernie Els was hoping to make a splash in his 100th major championship, but the "Big Easy" is off to a rocky start at the PGA Championship.

The 47-year-old Els shot 4 over on the front nine and was tied for 70th — or in second-to-last place — among the early golfers on the course as he made the turn.

Els started on the back nine and played the first seven holes in 5 over, including a double bogey on the difficult par-4 16th hole. He made birdie on the par-3 17th hole.

Paul Casey and Gary Woodland are the early leaders at 3 under. Jordan Speith was 1 under through six holes.

___

7:45 a.m.

Jordan Spieth begins his pursuit of the final leg of the career Grand Slam under a surprisingly blue sky at the PGA Championship.

Scattered storms are in the forecast all week at Quail Hollow Club, which is likely to make the 7,600-yard course feel even longer. Spieth, needing only the PGA Championship to have all four majors, at least begins his round on the par-5 10th hole.

One of the most significant changes was combining the opening two holes into one at 524 yards and a sharp dogleg. But with soft conditions and no wind Thursday morning, the 524-yard hole wasn't a problem for the first group.

Grayson Murray, who grew up in North Carolina, Peter Uihlein and club pro Rich Berberian Jr. all hit the green and made par.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, AP Sports - PGA
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