Cam Davis leads Aussie PGA charge

·3-min read

Cam Davis knew a test like this would come, he had just hoped it wouldn't be so quick.

But he passed with flying colours.

The 2017 Australian Open champion, in just his second major, walked off the sixth hole at Kiawah's Ocean Course biting his tongue after a triple bogey that was born from a loose tee shot that found water.

It had wiped out two impressive birdies from the early goings of his US PGA Championship debut, but he took a deep breath and remembered his vow to stay cool, calm and collected no matter the circumstance.

The 26-year-old duly birdied the next hole and then added a brilliant eagle to lead the Australian charge with a tidy first round three-under 69.

Chasing the first major win by an Australian in almost six years, Davis finds himself just two behind Canadian Corey Conners who defied tough conditions with a five-under 67.

"I needed to forget about that drive on six, it was just one bad strike," Davis told AAP.

"It helps when you're hitting the ball in pretty good spots and not really having to stress too much otherwise."

Davis said he would continue to use the same plan of not watching the leaderboard when he returns early Friday, refusing to let the occasion get to him.

"This is what works for me so I'll look to keep it going. I won't look at any scores or highlights tonight, and I'll be ready to get going tomorrow with some momentum from my finish," Davis said.

"If I play my game my way that's what will ultimately give me my best chance to do well."

Davis was particularly pleased to play the final five holes, which were all dead into a tough wind that tripped up the majority of the field, in one-under. Only three players were better.

Fellow Australian Open champion Matt Jones wasn't one of them. He was four-under through 14 holes and had the outright lead before wind gusts over 20mph bit hard.

Jones played the last four in bogey, bogey, double bogey, bogey to shoot a one-over 73.

Joining Davis two shots back is four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, young Norwegian star Viktor Hovland, American Aaron Wise, England's Sam Horsfield and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley.

Australia's highest-ranked player Cameron Smith shot an even-par 72 after also leaking two shots late. He was itching to get back out Friday to move back up the boards.

"The last five holes I played two-over and basically didn't really miss a shot," Smith said.

"That's just the way it is around here. You have to take advantage of those downwind holes as much as you can and really hold on and hit really good golf shots into the wind."

Jason Scrivener (73), Marc Leishman (74) and 2015 PGA champion Jason Day (74) need improvement in round two while Lucas Herbert (76) and former Masters champion Adam Scott (78) need huge turnarounds if they are to make the weekend.