Aussie Jones makes hot start at PGA Champs

·2-min read

Matt Jones was flying the Australian flag early while Adam Scott and Marc Leishman had a rough start to the 103rd PGA Championship at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course.

Jones opened with five straight pars on the front side of the course before getting into red figures with a 14-foot birdie at the sixth hole.

The Sydney native and two-time Australian Open winner backed it up with another at the par-5 seventh to make the turn at two under to be just one shot off the lead.

South African Louis Oosthuizen and American Cameron Tringale were the early pacesetters, getting to three under through their first four and nine holes respectively.

Starting in tricky breezy conditions, but yet the calmest the forecast called for all week, Australia's big morning wave names found themselves immediately behind the eight-ball as they chased the country's first major championship since Jason Day won the US PGA in 2015.

Scott's opening tee shot was a shocker, sailing right into a water hazard on the par-4 10th hole. Before he had a chance to settle any nerves the former Masters champion was writing down a triple bogey seven on his scorecard.

Leishman had no problems hitting the fairway on the same hole but his wedge approach went long into a sandy area and he was unable to get up and down for par.

That bogey was followed up by two more at the 13th and 14th holes.

After entering the tournament confident this was his best chance to win a PGA Championship, the Victorian was struggling at two over through seven holes.

Scott bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 11th but dropped another shot on the 14th that left him three over on his opening six holes.

Jason Scrivener was the last of the morning wave Australians, one over through just one hole.

Rory McIlroy, the winner at Kiawah Island in 2012 and pre-tournament favourite, mirrored Scott by sending his first shot on the 10th into water.

But the Northern Irishman managed to drop just one shot and gained two with back-to-back birdies on the following two holes.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa, US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama were also in red figures early in their rounds.

Australia's highest-ranked player Cameron Smith, former world No.1 Day plus Cameron Davis and Lucas Herbert are due out in the afternoon wave.