PGA Day 1 Rewind
PGA Championship 2023 live updates: A shocking on-course leader, LIV golf's big-name contenders and Oak Hill plays like a brute
Eric Cole held the on-course lead af five under through 14 holes in the first round of the PGA Championship.
The first round of the 105th PGA Championship started nearly two hours late because of a frost delay. It ended in fading light, with Byrson DeChambeau as the clubhouse leader and the surprise on-course leader walking off the course in a black hoodie with four holes still to complete.
Floridian Eric Cole, the winner of more than 50 mini-tour titles, started late in the day on the 10th tee and made a late surge with three straight birdies to get to five under par before play was suspended due to darkness at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Cole, 34, is appearing in only his second major and has made only 23 career starts on the PGA Tour. The son of former professional golfers Laura Baugh and Bobby Cole, Eric Cole made some noise on the tour earlier this season when he got into a playoff that he lost to Chris Kirk in the Honda Classic. In the only other major he’s played, Cole missed the cut in the 2021 U.S. Open.
He is on a board littered with big names, including DeChambeau, the former U.S. Open champion, now of LIV Golf, who played early and shot four-under 66 on the very difficult East Course. Another LIV golfer, Dustin Johnson, made his only bogey on the day in the fading light to shoot 67 and join World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler and Canadian Corey Conners at that number.
Adam Scott double-bogeyed the 18th hole late to score 68 and was joined by Keegan Bradley, Viktor Hovland and Ryan Fox. Justin Rose was one under with four holes left to play.
(Scroll down for live updates)
8:50 p.m.: Almost exactly 12 hours after the frost-delayed play began, it's over, with 11 groups who have to finish the first round on Friday morning.
8:47 p.m.: If Dustin Johnson happens to lose this championship by one shot, he might rue his decision to play the 18th hole in near-darkness. Johnson missed on his drive into a fairway bunker on the finisher, missed the green badly to the left, and could not get up and down. That gave him his only bogey of an otherwise impressive round and DJ's 67 tied him with other finishers, Scottie Scheffler and Corey Conners.
8:39 p.m.: Such a disappointing finish for Adam Scott, who doubles the last hole from the greenside bunker to have to "settle" for a 68 when he played far better than that.
8:30 p.m.: The horn has been blown to halt the first round due to the fading light. As long as the players have started a hole, they can choos to complee it, and a number of groups are doing so, including those of Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson at 18. Scott, after such a great round, left his first attempt in the greenside bunker and has a decent-length putt for bogey. Current leader Eric Cole is marking his ball in the No. 6 fairway.
8:11 p.m.: With a birdie at the 13th, Eric Cole is now the solo leader of the tournament, and yes, this is the first time we've mentioned him. He started late on the 10th tee, and after playing his front well, he's shot up the leaderboard by making three straight birdies. If you don't recognize the name, don't feel bad. Cole, who's won more than 50 times in golf's deep minor leagues, didn't ever sniff getting a PGA Tour win until earlier this year, when he lost to Chris Kirk in the Honda Classic. He got attention that week, too, for another factoid: He is the son of former professional golfers Laura Baugh and Bobby Cole.
8 p.m.: Well, if you aren't watching the PGA live, there is one replay you have to see on Thursday night. It's of Tom Kim, the popular young player who didn't hit a golf shot, and still got minutes of solo time when he somehow fully dipped himself into the mud at the seventh hole. "Turned himself into a mud ball" exlaimed Golf Digest's Dave Shedloski. We had no idea how he got there, but it became a hilarious bit to watch as Kim shook off the mud, and then took a dip in the creek to wash himself off. See it! It will be legend.
7:46 p.m.: Big Tone is on his way back! After a horrible start in which Tony Finau shot 41 on the front, he's birdied 11, 13, 14 and 15 to get it to two over. Xander Schauffele is managing similar comeback. He was four over through three, but hasn't made a bogey since, and just birdied the 14th to be at one over.
7:35 p.m.: Our final Michael Block update of the day. The teaching pro from Arroyo Trabuco in Mission Viejo, Calif., parred the 18th hole to shoot even par. Block says the final feat on his bucket list would be to notch low-PGA pro honors in a major, and he's off to a great start, tied for 19th.
7:30 p.m.: Viva LIV Golf! We're kidding, but Greg Norman is smiling somewhere. With a birdie from short range at the 13th hole, LIV defector Dustin Johnson shares the lead with Bryson DeChambeau. Through he just hit a terrible drive into the drivable. 14th. Adam Scott also is at four under after making a short birdie at 14.
7;06 p.m.: The Michael Block show continues! He makes a 22-footer for par on the tough 17th to stay even.
7:04 p.m.: DJ makes a lengthy birdie putt at 12 to get to three under.
7 p.m.: The top-of-the-hour update—and they're figuring to get at least another 90 minutes after the frost delay—is that only Adam Scott is threatening to match Bryson DeChambeau's morning-wave number of 66. Through 12, Scott is tied for second at three under with the already finished Scottie Scheffler and Corey Conners. Dustin Johnson is two under through 11. Phil Mickelson is two over after a bogey at 11.
6:57 p.m.: Michael Block, whom the ESPN crew is now calling "our buddy," makes his third birdie in four holes is at even par and T-19.
6:53 p.m.: Fun exchange among the ESPN guys after Dustin Johnson hit a 9-wood off the tee at the 248-yard par-3 11th and came up short. Curtis Srange: "9-wood! ... My grandmother loved hers." Scott Van Pelt: "Curtis Strange said that by the way.." David Duval: "Did she hit hers 245? ... He hits his 9-wood further than your drive." Strange: You're touching a nerve there DV."
6:40 p.m.: DJ is officially in the hunt. He just made his second birdie against no bogeys, and is two under through 10.
Michael Block watches his shot from the fourth tee.
6:25 p.m.: My friends and colleagues are well aware of how I feel about players being mic'd up during the majors. It's ridiculous. Quarterbacks don't get pulled to the sideline reporter between drives in the Super Bowl, and golfers shouldn't agree to do it during play in the most important events of the year. Teaching pro Michael Block's on-course interview this afternoon didn't change that opinion, but boy was Block good. The 46-year-old teacher from Mission Viejo, Calif., was chatty and engaging and funny. When Scott Van Pelt asked him about his potential for an up-and-down birdie from a bunker at the par-4 13th, Block asked him what the odds were in the booth. He called the tour pros "sweethearts" and deemed Oak Hill "the baby of Shinnecock and Oakmont. The guy is also a stick. He's played in 20 PGA Tour events, including five PGAs and two U.S. Open, and by making back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 on Thursday, Block was one over through 14 holes and tied for 29th, even after suffering a double at 10.
5:50 p.m.: Adam Scott is the hottest player in the afternoon. He just birdied the eighth to get to three under. And he's absolutely bombing it, including a 365-yard, wind-aided launch at No. 8 that gave him only 81 yards to the flag. Also of note: Scott is making his 87h straight start in a major, tying Tom Watson at No. 2 on the all-time list. Quipped ESPN's Andy North: "Or only 60 behind Nicklaus." The official number is 67, with Nicklaus having played in 154 straight for which he was eligible.
5:39 p.m.: Phil Mickelson was off to a very solid start with five straight pars. But he tried to get too much out of his fairway bunker shot at 6, and it hit well below the grass lip and went nearly sideways. Lefty hit a great approach from there, but couldn't salvage par.
4:50 p.m.: Sepp Straka has it going early in his opening round. The former Georgia Bulldog and winner at the 2022 Honda Classic hit an absolute monster drive down the difficult par-4 16th hole to set up his third birdie in his first seven holes. Straka is one back of Bryson's lead.
4:31 p.m.: Bryson DeChambeau wraps up a fantastic opening round with a par at No. 9 to card a first-round 66, which puts him in the solo lead after the morning wave. All those Winged Foot comparisons look pretty apt now with the 2020 U.S. Open winner at the top of the leader board. As mentioned below, he drafted nicely off Keegan Bradley's hot start in the same group (Keegan ended with a few bogeys over his last few holes to end up at 2-under, which is in a tie for fourth at the moment.)
Bryson and Keegan combined to make 13 birdies in their opening round ... really impressive at this ultra difficult Oak Hill layout.
4:25 p.m.: Xander Schauffele was a popular pick to win, rightfully so, packing 16 top-20 starts in his first 23 major appearances. But it has been a disastrous start, starting 4-over through his first three ... with bogeys at 1 and 3 and also a double bogey at the second after failing to get his fourth on the putting surface. That's a surprising start for one of the game's most consistent stars, ala Jon Rahm's opening 76.
4:10 p.m.: A few more prominent LIV players are now on the course with Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson teeing off. Jim Nantz had a subtle dagger to LIV during the broadcast at the Masters, and he has wasted no time this year getting in a little dig at DJ's win last week at the LIV event in Tulsa:
3:54 p.m.: You won't see many better up-and-downs at Oak Hill than Bryson DeChambeau's at the seventh hole. He missed way right with his approach, and short-sided he left himself a 13-footer that he poured in the center to stay at 4-under. With Keegan Bradley failing to get up and down at 7, that means Bryson has the solo lead all by himself.
3:39 p.m.: Keegan Bradley and Bryson DeChambeau continue to draft off each other in the same group, both making birdies at the difficult par-4 6th hole to both take a share of the lead at 4-under. That was Keegan's seventh birdie of the day (to go along with a double bogey and a bogey) as the former St. John's University golfer is at the top of the leaderboard in New York.
Of course Bryson won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. which was a championship that many were comparing Oak Hill's test to before the week started. So far, Bryson's showing why his game fits this place, too.
3:25 p.m.: Rory McIlroy really steadied himself after a front-nine 38 to make three birdies on the back nine (along with one bogey) to get his round back to 1-over for the day. That keeps him in this tournament ... some steely reserve you'd expect from a four-time major champion.
Pretty dang impressive for Rory, actually, considering he only hit two fairways all day. Two fairways around this absolute driving test and to shoot 71 ... that's some impressive scrambling.
3:07 p.m.: Scottie Scheffler wraps up an opening-round 3-under 67 after justttt missing another birdie at the ninth hole, his 18th of the day. It looked like he was about to pour in back-to-back birdies to end his round, but he'll have to settle for a par to grab the clubhouse lead for the moment. He's with Bryson DeChambeau, who just birdied to grab a share of the lead, Keegan Bradley, and Corey Conners.
Brooks Koepka stumbles on his last hole of the day, failing to get up and down out of the greenside bunker to make his third bogey in the day to wrap up a 2-over 72. Koepka was scrambling for pars all day, and did so pretty brilliantly to salvage his round ... but too many mistakes ended up costing him.
2:56 p.m.—Ryan Fox seems a bit surprised by his own solid play and "hot putter" to start the PGA Championship. After a T-26 at Augusta National not too long ago, Fox has been getting over pneumonia and then right when he was done with that ... his second daughter, Margot, was born. Perhaps the lack of sleep has been a boon for the New Zealand golfer.
2:48 p.m.—Don't look now, but Scottie Scheffler is atop the leaderboard despite a relatively quiet opening round. All it takes to have a share of the lead is a three under and Scheffler is joined by fellow hot-starters Corey Conners and Keegan Bradley. Bradley still has 1/3 of his holes left to play, which is either great or terrible. It's been all over the place today.
2:33 p.m.—A bogey-free Justin Thomas switches it up with a double on the par-4 sixth to drop him to one over. Two brutal beats there on the green and just like that, he'll drop down the leaderboard a good deal. This is coming off an exciting par and fist bump just a few minutes earlier. That one's gonna smart ...
2:24 p.m.—Jon Rahm started his day with a birdie and hasn't had a single one since. He missed a relatively easy chance for a birdie and continues his day mostly full of bogeys and pars. He's four over at the moment with little energy or momentum. A far cry from his marathon Sunday showing at Augusta National.
2:16 p.m.—It's just not happening for Rory McIlroy right now as he goes "a mile left" on the sixth hole. He's only hit two fairways all day today, and that certainly won't be another one. Scottie Scheffler, meanwhile will stick at two under with yet another par. He's keeping it simple right now. Scheffler trails Hovland, Fox and Conners. Knotted up with Scheffler is Bryson DeChambeau who finds the green with a shot not far from the pin. The LIV golfer gives himself a strong chance for birdie.
2:07 p.m.: It's Jim Nantz time on ESPN as the broadcast great takes over from fellow great (Van Pelt) to carry on the PGA Championship call. First up is Rory McIlroy who will find the green on the par-3 fifth. A little far but, again, pars will be just fine today. Just 12 players under par at the moment.
2 p.m.—After a tremendous tee shot, Scottie Scheffler will birdie the par-3 fifth to jump up to just one back of the Ryan Fox two-under lead. The shot was from just under 15 feet. Every birdie is critical today without too many low scores.
1:53 p.m.—Eagle putt for Rory McIlroy coming up as Jon Rahm drops yet again with his fourth bogey in five holes. Rahm started his day with a birdie and then five-straight pars, but he has not been able to keep the solid play going afterward. Not much happening for the reigning major champ.
1:42 p.m.—In case you missed it—we did too—Bryson DeChambeau hit a fellow player on No. 18 with an errant tee shot. The broadcast made sure to say that a fore was called and that PGA professional Kenny Pigman is alright after the contact.
1:33 p.m.—Viktor Hovland, in the brightest of shirts, sinks a long birdie putt to get a share of the two-under lead, along with Conners and Fox. Hov had three straight birdies on Nos. 13-15, and his fourth birdie of the day will come on the second hole. Definitely a step up after two bogeys on his first three holes to begin his PGA. Hovland's shot will be followed up by a Rory McIlroy birdie after a perfect tee shot on the par-3 third. A bit of momentum here.
1:24 p.m—Well, alrighty then. Rory McIlroy will save par with an uphill putt from off the green on the second hole. That's critical to keep away from another bogey, and maybe the excitement of the crowd will put him on the right track. He's still three over so plenty of work to be done, but that one certainly doesn't hurt.
1:20 p.m.—Scott Van Pelt and David Duval discuss the brutality of this Oak Hill course post-renovations, and Duval goes on to say that there are few certifiable birdie holes. Especially with such a tough front nine, these pros have their work cut out for them to stay in contention. Low scores thus far, and "it's hard to see the scores getting very low," according to Van Pelt.
Jon Rahm's going to have a lot of work to do the rest of this Thursday round to not drop too low. The Spaniard and Masters champ shoots three straight bogeys after starting one under; this is the first time he’s made 3 straight bogeys in a major since the 2020 U.S. Open. That's quickly followed by a Rory McIlroy shot right over the green and a Spieth double at the first. Pars are going to matter more than ever at this PGA.
1:08 p.m.—It's Jordan Spieth-Michael Greller conversation time at the PGA. One of the best back-and-forth pairings in golf. Spieth ultimately gets it to right off the green on No. 1. He isn't pleased with it but certainly playable. Scottie Scheffler will also stick at one under, just two strokes back of leaders Kazuki Higa, Sahith Theegala and Keegan Bradley.
Shane Lowry gets his first birdie of the day after nine holes with a perfect chip-in shot on the par-4 first hole. He certainly needed that with nothing going so far on this chilly Thursday. He's already been caught on a hot mic—he's far from the only one—and finally seems to be heating up at Oak Hill.
1:01 p.m.—Hide the kids, folks, the hot mics are out at Oak Hill, and they are blazing. Keegan Bradley and Justin Thomas are the latest suspects, with JT demanding his ball “get down” on the first, while adding a four-letter favorite for added urgency (notice the "F" alliteration...). It did not listen, sailing well right into the trees off the first. Bradley opted for a simpler approach, using the same four-letter word not as a demand but as a disgruntled realization that he’d be playing his second on the par-3 15th from the short side in the bunker. Notably absent were the formal apologies from the TV announcers. We may be entering a new era of managing hot mic gaffes: Ignoring them.
12:44 p.m.—After struggling with his ball striking in his last two starts at the Masters and Wells Fargo, Rory McIlroy continues to fight his swing at Oak Hill. The World No. 3 hit just one of seven fairways in his opening nine en route to a three-over 38. Equally concerning, Rory is missing in both directions, likely a result of the timing issues he discussed earlier in the week. You can read all about what Rory is working on right here, but in short, he is coming down too far from the inside with an open face, forcing him to use his hands to flip the face square at impact. When his timing is off, as it is so far today, he can have a big miss in either direction.
12:33 p.m.—By both ranking and public perception, Jon Rahm is the best player in the world right now. Earlier in the broadcast this morning, analyst David Duval said he thinks Rahm is substantially better than anyone else, adding he means no disrespect to World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler. Though Rahm’s four tour wins this season (including the Masters) tops Scheffler’s two, the Texan’s consistency is remarkable: Scheffler has finished T-12 or better in his last 12 PGA Tour starts, going back to the CJ Cup in October. The solid play has continued early on Thursday, as he starts his championship one under through nine holes.
12:07 p.m.—Jon Rahm is one under through five holes early on Thursday, a solid start for the World No. 1 and Masters champion. Somewhat curiously, five of the last six Masters champions went on to miss the cut in their first PGA Championship after winning at Augusta: Scottie Scheffler (2022), Dustin Johnson (2021), Tiger Woods (2019), Patrick Reed (2018) and Sergio Garcia (2017). Not to worry for Rahm, though, as the Spaniard is not only the hottest player in golf right now, but he holds the longest active made cuts streak in majors at 14, going back to the 2019 PGA at Bethpage.
11:49 a.m.—Surprisingly, no player representing Great Britain has won the PGA Championship since 1919, when Jim Barnes won at Engineers Country Club on Long Island. Barnes defended his title from 1916, since the championship took a two-year hiatus due to World War I. Who will be the first Englishman to win the PGA since the Great War? How about … Callum Tarren, who at three under through four holes is tied for the lead with Kazuki Higa.
RELATED: This Joel Dahmen tee shot either hit a sprinkler head or Oak Hill has the firmest fairways on the planet
11:36 a.m.—Scottie Scheffler (-1), Brooks Koepka (E) and Gary Woodland (+2) have arrived at the par-3 15th, one of three new holes added during Andrew Green’s 2019 renovation of the East course. On paper, the 160-yarder is a welcome change from the other par 3 on the back nine 240-yard brute 11th. Yet take a look at the hole location for the first round, cut just three paces off the left in a “tongue” in the back of the green.
11:20 a.m.—If you’re watching the early coverage from Oak Hill, you might notice the stark light and dark contrast between the left and right sides of the fairways. As aesthetic touch, sure, but one that will have tangible effects. The right sides of each fairway appear shiny from the tees, meaning they are cut down grain, while the left sides are into the gain with a darker hue. Though the fairways are cut so tight that there may not be too much of a difference in rollout from each side, expect shots landing in the right half (down grain) to have a bit more kick and roll to them.
11:10 a.m.—Despite a dropped shot at the tough par-4 17th, Kazuki Higa (three under through eight holes) still holds a two-shot lead early at Oak Hill. Perhaps you don’t know much about the No. 99 player in the world, and his recent form has done little to change that. Here’s Higa’s last five starts worldwide: Valero Texas Open (MC), Masters (MC), ISPS Handa Championship (MC), Korea Championship presented by Genesis (MC), DS Automobiles Italian Open (MC).
10:27 a.m.— Some surprisngly decent action early, it must be said. Defending Championship JT dropped a 32-footer on his first hole of the day for birdie. Rory, on the same hole, rolled his putt from the same distance almost five feet past the hole, but knocked it in for par. A nervy one to get the day going. Brooks Koepka chipped in for par on his second whole on the day.
And all the while Higa just kept making birdies. Four consecutive birdies, specifically, for a two shot lead.
10:02 a.m.— The tournament's super group is off. Rory with a "fairway finder" swing down the middle, Justin Thomas pulled his into the rough left, and Collin Morikawa lost his fade out to the right.
9:50 a.m.— 54 watch? Try 34 watch for Scott Stallings! He eagled his first hole of the day courtesy of this amazing 413 yard par-4 10th hole.
9:21 a.m.— We've finally got some movement. The frost is gone and players are on the course. The rough is looking juicy. It's clear the fairway is where players want and need to be this week.
As for who notched the first birdie of the tournament? That honor goes to Kazuki Higa, who knocked in a medium-length putt on the 248 yard par-3 11th hole. He followed with another birdie on the 12th hole to jump into the (very) early lead at two-under.
9:06 a.m.—So what does the delay mean for watching this mornings action—specifically if you were looking for a few marquee pairings. Well here's when some of the more popular pairings are now starting their morning rounds:
8 a.m./9:50 a.m. -- Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland
8:11 a.m./10:01 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa
8:22 a.m./10:12 a.m. -- Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth, Viktor Hovland
8:33 a.m./10:23 a.m. -- Matthew Fitzpatrick, Cameron Smith, Jon Rahm
8:55 a.m.—The first threesome of Shaun Micheel, Braden Shattuck and Steven Alker, approximate one hour and 50 minutes after their orignially scheduled 7 a.m. tee time. Indeed, the morning began ominously with the following series of messages from the PGA of America.
Finally, though, room for optimism. And given the extended light in Western New York, they can play until 8:30 p.m., allowing most of the first round to be played before nightfall and not backing up the championship too much into Friday.