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Cal Golf: Max Homa, Collin Morikawa Have Work To Do After Day 1 of the PGA

Homa briefly shared the lead early before settling for a 70; Morikawa is at 72.

Max Homa, teeing off early in the day, had a share of the lead at the 104th PGA Championship after six holes Thursday but wound up at even par for the day and tied for 27th place at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

His fellow Cal graduate, Collin Morikawa, ranked No. 3 in the world, is at 2-over 72 and tied for 56th place two years after winning the event at Harding Park in San Francisco for the first of his two career major titles.

Homa, 31, is five strokes back of first-round leader Rory McIlroy, and the 25-year-old Morikawa is seven strokes behind heading into Friday’s second round.

Homa gets his third straight birdie and ties for the lead:

McIlroy shot a 5-under 66 that included a stretch of four straight birdies. McIlroy has a first-round lead at a major for the first time since winning the 2014 PGA. That was his most recent victory in a major.

"I feel like, this course, it lets you be pretty aggressive off the tee if you want to be," said McIlroy, who hit 10 drives of at least 325 yards. "So, I hit quite a lot of drivers out there and took advantage of my length and finished that off with some nice iron play and some nice putting.

"It was nice to get off to that good start and sort of keep it going."

Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge are each one stroke back at minus-4 with Matt Kuchar, Justin Thomas and Abraham Ancer at 3 under.

Max Homa watches a putt.

Max Homa

Homa, coming off a victory at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago and now 28th in the official world golf rankings, has never finished higher than 40th in a major and has missed the cut in six of his past eight.

He started on the back nine and had birdies on 12, 13 and 14 to share the lead at that point. He barely missed a birdie put at 17 but was still at three under until things turned when he made a double-bogey six on the par-four 18th.

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Homa had back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5 to fall back to 29th place but scored a birdie on No. 8 and wound up in 27th place.

Morikawa made par on nine straight holes on the front nine to begin his round in the late morning.

After that run of consistency, he suffered an up-and-down three-hole stretch. He bogeyed the 10th, got back even with a birdie on the par-3 11th then bogeyed No. 12.

Morikawa recovered to make par on five consecutive holes before badly missing a par putt on 18 to wind up at 2-over in a round featuring just one birdie.

Tiger Woods is in some trouble after a 4-over 74 that included seven bogeys, including six over his final 10 holes. Starting on the back nine, he was 2 under par through five holes.

But Woods finished his round tied for 99th place, calling it a frustrating day. He will need a better performance Friday to make the cut.

Fifteen months after a serious car accident, Woods is still not his old self physically. “My leg is not feeling as good as I would like it to be,” Woods said. “Loading hurts. Pressing off it hurts. Walking hurts. And twisting hurts.”

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler carded a first-round 71 that included five bogeys and an eagle, and is tied for 38th. Jon Rahm, ranked No. 2 and part of the Day 1 threesome with Morikawa and Scheffler, wound up at 73, which has him in a group sharing 79th place.

Among other big names, Xander Schauffele is tied for seventh at 2-under 68, Jordan Spieth is seven strokes back at 2-over 72, and Dustin Johnson and Patrick Cantlay are both at 3-over 73

Brooks Koepka had six bogeys and just one birdie on the way to a 75 that leaves him in 114th place and 10 strokes off the pace.

Cover photo of Collin Morikawa by Orlando Ramirez, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo