AAP Golf

Jason Day six behind PGA leader Koepka

By AAP Newswire

Jason Day believes US PGA Championship leader Brooks Koepka will struggle to run away with the tournament on a golf course as brutal as New York's Bethpage Black.

Day, the 2015 PGA champion, emerged as Australia's best hope to reel in Koepka given the Queenslander was the only player to shoot under par among seven countrymen.

Former world No.1 Day fought back from a two-over score through 10 holes, with three back-nine birdies giving him a one-under-par 69.

He sits six shots behind defending PGA champion Koepka, who fired a course record 63 to take the first-round lead at seven under.

Koepka's 63 was the 17th time the score has been recorded in PGA Championship history, but he became the first player to do it twice.

The 29-year-old from Florida carded a 63 in round two of the PGA Championship he won last year.

Koepka has a one-shot lead over New Zealand's Danny Lee, who navigated Bethpage with just 21 putts during a 64.

England's Tommy Fleetwood (67) is third at three under.

World No.3 Koepka has won three of the past eight major championships starting with the 2017 US Open.

But Day is not ready to hand him the title after day one.

"It's Bethpage," Day said, referring to the Long Island course's narrow, tree-lined fairways and thick rough.

"I feel like there's going to be more bogeys than birdies out here.

"You never know where Brooks could be at the end of the week; he could be outside the top 10 or top 20.

"You can play tremendous golf one day and then wake up the next day and not know where it's going. That's just how golf is."

Day admitted his 69 could have been a stellar opening round if his usually world-class putting hadn't deserted him.

He missed six putts inside 11 feet.

"I think if I can just kind of tidy that up (in round two), that would be great," Day said.

Next best of the Australians was Adam Scott, who was humming at one under until he double-bogeyed his second-last hole to sign for a one-over 71.

"It's a shame because I played pretty good today, so I'm a little dirty at myself at the moment," a frustrated Scott said.

Cameron Smith (73), Lucas Herbert and Marc Leishman (74), Brendan Jones (78), Stuart Deane and Craig Hocknull (82) rounded out the Australian contingent.