Rory McIlroy has emerged as the early favorite to win the 2022 PGA Championship after shooting a five-under-par 65 in the first round at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
DraftKings Sportsbook lists McIlroy as the +300 favorite to win the PGA Championship after Thursday’s round.
McIlroy looks for third PGA Championship title
McIlroy birdied seven holes, but also took two bogeys on his way to the top of the leaderboard. He holds a one-shot lead over both Will Zalatoris (+1000) and Tom Hoge (+2500) after 18 holes.
“It’s a great start but I’m not getting ahead of myself,” McIlroy told reporters after the round. “I hit some great tee shots, some great iron shots, and holed some nice putts. I did pretty much everything you need to do out there today. I’m going to have to keep doing that over the next three days if I’m going to have a chance to win.”
McIlroy has won the PGA Championship twice before, in both 2012 and 2014. He holds four major championships, but hasn’t won one since 2014 when he also won the Open Championship.
McIlroy played alongside Jordan Spieth (+5000) – who shot an opening-round 72 – and Tiger Woods. While Woods started strong and sat at two-under-par after five holes, he struggled physically throughout the rest of the round, ultimately shooting a 74.
“My leg is not feeling as good as I would like it to be,” Woods told reporters. “We’ll start the recovery process and get after it tomorrow. I just can’t load it. Loading hurts, pressing off it hurt, walking hurts, and twisting hurts. It’s just golf. If I don’t play that, then I’m alright.”
Bettors backed Woods strongly heading into the tournament and he represented a major liability for many sportsbooks. DraftKings now lists him at +60000 to win the PGA Championship, a sign of just how much he struggled on Thursday.
Scheffler survives rough finish to first round
Meanwhile, pre-tournament favorite Scottie Scheffler nearly threw away his chances at a PGA Championship title late in his round, but held on to shoot a reasonable 71. Scheffler was shooting one-under after a birdie on the 15th hole, but then bogeyed both 16 and 17. He proceeded to hit his tee shot into the water on 18 before scrambling to save par.
|2022 PGA Championship Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Rory McIlroy: +300||Justin Thomas: +700|
|Will Zalatoris: +1000||Cameron Smith: +1200|
|Xander Schauffele: +1200||Matt Fitzpatrick: +2000|
|Scottie Scheffler: +2000||Joaquin Niemann: +2500|
|Tom Hoge: +2500||Viktor Hovland: +2800|
“Bogeying the last three is definitely not very fun, so it was good to make that par at the end,” Scheffler said after his round. “I’m still pretty frustrated with how I played the back nine, but overall, one-over-par playing as poorly as a did today … I didn’t shoot myself out of the tournament, so I’m still in an OK position.”
Scheffler is now a +2000 pick to win the PGA Championship after his middling first round. Justin Thomas (+700) is the second choice on the board at DraftKings after shooting a three-under 67, followed by Zalatoris, Cameron Smith (+1200), and Xander Schauffele (+1200).