Brendon Todd claims a share of PGA lead | Lexington Herald Leader

Brendon Todd claims a share of PGA lead | Lexington Herald Leader

Jason Day has battled a chronically bad back for years but on Thursday the former world number one looked like a younger and healthier version of himself as he grabbed the first-round clubhouse lead at the PGA Championship.

Lathered in Deep Heat to protect his ailing back, Day birdied his last hole for a brilliant bogey-free five-under-par 65 at TPC Harding Park to snare a one-shot lead.

The 44-year-old lies three shots behind leaders Jason Day and Brendon Todd, who are one shot ahead of England's Justin Rose and two-time victor Brooks Koepka.

Woods got off to a flyer with birdies at the tenth and 13th but dropped shots at the 14th and second stalled him.

It was a mixed outing for Rory McIlroy, who posted a hat-trick of bogeys during his opening nine before rebounding with three birdies in four holes. Thomas was going along fine until a pair of double bogeys, one on the seventh hole when his ball never came down from a Monterey Cypress tree.

Day anticipated the cool temperatures in San Francisco and caked his back - which was operated on earlier this year - with muscle therapy cream to prevent another injury.

He is using a new, longer putter at the event, which he said helps take pressure off his surgically-repaired back, allowing him to practice for longer.

"But my game doesn't feel that far away".

Two-time major victor Kaymer, who started on No. 10, got hot on his back nine, making two birdies on No. 1 and No. 3 and delivering an eagle on the par-five No. 4.

As for Koepka, the defending champion bogeyed the short 11th but after making a 12-footer at the 13th, he hit a short iron to four feet at the 14th, then rolled in 11-footers for birdies at the 16th and 18th to turn in three-under par.

On the 12th, Woods had another chance at a birdie after hitting his approach shot to six feet but his putt missed right and he settled for a par.

His only other appearance on Tour this season came at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai in November, where he finished T24. "If I can drive it well this week, I feel like I'm going to have a really good week".

Woods, whose only PGA Tour event since February was a share of 40th at the Memorial Tournament in mid-July, began his quest for a 16th major championship in the company of four-times major victor Rory McIlroy and world number one Justin Thomas.

Day's fellow Australians Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman and Lucas Herbert all had afternoon tee-offs.

One of the enduring images of the day was a bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau swinging with such ferocity that he cracked the shaft of his driver.

The driver malfunction hasn't stopped DeChambeau from getting off to a good start.

It modifies Rule 4.1b (3) to say that "If a player's club is "broken or significantly damaged" during the round by the player or caddie, except in cases of abuse, the player may replace the club with any club under Rule 4.1b (4)". "And breaking into pieces would meet that standard".

But when the cameras cut to DeChambeau holding his driver, minus the actual clubhead, viewers were left wondering if he had broken his favourite club in his bag in a fit of temper.

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