McIlroy remains in fine form at PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla...

Rory McIlroy tees off on the 13th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., Aug. 7, 2014. (BRIAN SPURLOCK/USA Today)

TIM McKay, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:38 PM ET

LOUISVILLE, KY. - A trio of surprising front-runners surfaced Thursday at the PGA Championship, but the world’s No. 1 player is lurking in the long Kentucky bluegrass.

Lee Westwood, tying his best career round in a major, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer set the pace with first-round 65s on the par-71 Valhalla layout. But Rory McIlroy made sure he kept them close, shooting a five-under par 66 – including birdies on five of his final seven holes – to sit just a shot behind.

McIlroy is showing no signs of fatigue following a dream run that started with his victory at the British Open – the third leg of his career grand slam – and continued with a win last week at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational. A win this week would give the 25-year-old his fourth major victory and his second PGA Championship in three years.

McIlroy’s last nine rounds of competitive play all have been under par and he made a rare stumble Thursday on the 10th hole when an errant shot led to a double-bogey.


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