Rory McIlroy was left to rue a mid-round slump after failing to capitalise on an encouraging start to the week at the PGA Championship.
The pre-tournament favourite posted a one-over 72 in tough scoring conditions in North Carolina, leaving him five strokes adrift of early pacesetters Thorbjorn Olesen and Kevin Kisner.
McIlroy, the only player in the world’s top five without a win in 2017, was two under after 12 holes but lost ground with a bogey and a double-bogey over the next two holes.
The Northern Irishman then failed to birdie the par-five 15th, the easiest hole on the course, but McIlroy was still able to find positives from his opening round.
“I wish I could have those three holes back, but apart from that I played nicely and I’m still in it,” McIlroy said. “I did what I needed to do.
“Birdied the par 5s, birdied the holes that you should birdie. I’m only five behind. If I shoot something in the 60s tomorrow, I’ll move right up there.
“It was tough to hole putts this afternoon. Hopefully, the surfaces are a little better tomorrow morning and we can hopefully hole some more putts.”
The world No 4 featured in the afternoon marquee afternoon alongside Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler, who lies two off the pace following an opening-round 69.
Fowler birdied two off his opening four holes but racked up a triple-bogey seven at next, only to bounce back with four birdies and a sole blemish over the rest of his round.
“It would be nice not to have it (the triple-bogey),” Fowler said. “I feel like we did a good job of that on the putting surfaces today.
“The big thing for me is continuing to drive it as good as I did today, if not better. That can be tightened up a little bit. If we do that, it will be a good week.”