Charlotte - A three-hole stretch in the middle of the back nine spelled doom for Rory McIlroy's hopes of grabbing the lead after Thursday's opening round of the 99th PGA Championship.
The 28-year-old from Northern Ireland fired a one-over par 72 to share 33rd after 18 holes at Quail Hollow, the layout where McIlroy has twice won PGA events.
But it might have been so much better had he not been stung for a bogey at the par-3 13th, a double bogey at the par-4 14th and missed a four-foot birdie putt at the par-5 15th on hardened greens where putting was at a premium.
"The greens are as firm as I've ever seen, probably any greens at a PGA Championship" McIlroy said. "That makes things difficult as well. It's definitely playing a few shots harder than it usually is and it's a major championship - it should be."
McIlroy birdied the par-4 third, took bogeys at the par-3 fourth and six holes, then rebounded with three birdies in four holes starting at the par-5 seventh and ending at the par-5 10th.
"It was OK," McIlroy said. "I started well, coming through part of the course where you're looking to pick a couple of shots up on 14 and 15.
"Played that stretch of holes, 13, 14, 15, in 3-over. So if I just could have had that three-hole stretch back, other than that, I played nicely. Did what I needed to do, birdied the holes that you should birdie."
McIlroy missed the green and a 10-foot par putt at 13, then found water left of the fairway on 14 and missed a five-foot bogey putt. The collapse ended when he never found the fairway and botched the birdie bid at 15.
"I'm just disappointed with that three-hole stretch, but right in it," McIlroy said. "It was tough. Greens were difficult. Greens got very grainy as the day went on. If you just hit a putt a tiny bit off line, it exaggerated it. It was tough to hole putts."
McIlroy, seeking his fifth career major title and third PGA crown, could join Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only men to win five major titles before turning 30.
One of the changes to toughen the course from when McIlroy last played it to turn it into a major test was the addition of Bermuda grass into the rough.
"One of the biggest things is the bermuda rough just around the greens, missing fairways," McIlroy said. "It's just once you get yourself out of position, it's very difficult. It's tricky around the greens."
Asked about his first round with pal Harry Diamond as his caddie after a split with long-time bagman JP Fitzgerald, McIlroy did not cite a moment where he needed to lean on his caddie.
"I sort of got it rolling," McIlroy said. "For a stretch of that round, I drove it really well. I was hitting the ball well. I could see birdies.
"I can see a low one out there. It's just a matter of not shooting yourself in the foot too often like I did today."
Scores after Thursday's opening round of the 99th PGA Championship at par-71 Quail Hollow:
67 - Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 33-34, Kevin Kisner (USA) 33-34
68 - Grayson Murray (USA) 36-32, Brooks Koepka (USA) 32-36, Gary Woodland (USA) 32-36, Chris Stroud (USA) 35-33, D.A. Points (USA) 34-34
69 - Tony Finau (USA) 34-35, Patrick Reed (USA) 32-37, Paul Casey (ENG) 35-34, Jim Herman (USA) 33-36, Bud Cauley (USA) 34-35, Rickie Fowler (USA) 34-35, Brian Harman (USA) 31-38
70 - Hideki Matsuyana (JPN) 35-35, Kang Sung (KOR) 36-34, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 34-36, Jason Day (AUS) 33-37, Dustin Johnson (USA) 34-36, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 37-33, Graham DeLaet (CAN) 35-35, Pat Perez (USA) 35-35, Jon Rahm (ESP) 33-37, Jordan Smith (ENG) 36-34
71 - Zach Johnson (USA) 35-36, Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 35-36, Satoshi Kodaira (JPN) 36-35, Adam Scott (AUS) 35-36, An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 36-35, Matt Kuchar (USA) 35-36, Ryan Moore (USA) 34-37, Sean O'Hair (USA) 38-33
72 - Chris Wood (ENG) 37-35, Jordan Spieth (USA) 36-36, David Lingmerth (SWE) 37-35, Scott Hend (AUS) 34-38, Yuta Ikeda (JPN) 35-37, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 36-36, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 34-38, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 34-38, Kevin Chappell (USA) 33-39, Cody Gribble (USA) 33-39, Chez Reavie (USA) 36-36
73 - Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 35-38, Justin Thomas (USA) 36-37, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 36-37, Lee Westwood (ENG) 38-35, Scott Brown (USA) 36-37, Kelly Kraft (USA) 35-38, Danny Willett (ENG) 38-35, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 36-37, K.T. Kim (KOR) 37-36, James Hahn (USA) 35-38, Richard Sterne (RSA) 38-35, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 36-37, Shaun Micheel (USA) 37-36, Daniel Berger (USA) 36-37, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 37-36, Wang Jeung-Hun (KOR) 37-36, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 37-36, Li Haotong (CHN) 36-37
74 - Shane Lowry (IRE) 38-36, Alex Noren (SWE) 36-38, Peter Uihlein (USA) 37-37, Ian Poulter (ENG) 35-39, Wesley Bryan (USA) 38-36, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 36-38, John Daly (USA) 36-38, Robert Streb (USA) 37-37, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 36-38, Keegan Bradley (USA) 37-37, J.B. Holmes (USA) 38-36, Xander Schauffle (USA) 35-39, Brendan Steele (USA) 37-37, Omar Uresti (USA) 35-39, Jason Dufner (USA) 40-34, Jonas Blixt (SWE) 37-37, Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 38-36, Jamie Lovemark (USA) 37-37
75 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 35-40, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 35-40, Charley Hoffman (USA) 37-38, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 38-37, Cameron Smith (AUS) 35-40, Lucas Glover (USA) 39-36, Jason Kokrak (USA) 38-37, Russell Henley (USA) 36-39, Marc Leishman (AUS) 35-40, Steve Stricker (USA) 38-37, Ross Fisher (ENG) 36-39, Bill Haas (USA) 35-40, Alexander Levy (FRA) 39-36, Luke List (USA) 37-38, Ryan Fox (NZL) 41-34
76 - Daniel Summerhays (USA) 36-40, Kyle Stanley (USA) 39-37, Kenny Pigman (USA) 40-36, Matt Dobyns (USA) 39-37, Joost Luiten (NED) 35-41, Luke Donald (ENG) 37-39, Webb Simpson (USA) 38-38, Yang Yong-Eun (KOR) 35-41, Billy Horschel (USA) 39-37, Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 37-39, Danny Lee (NZL) 37-39, Justin Rose (ENG) 35-41, Jim Furyk (USA) 37-39
77 - Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 38-39, Russell Knox (SCO) 40-37, Bubba Watson (USA) 36-41, William McGirt (USA) 38-39, Brian Smock (USA) 37-40, Rod Pampling (AUS) 41-36, Hudson Swafford (USA) 37-40, Greg Gregory (USA) 37-40, Branden Grace (RSA) 38-39, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 39-38, Martin Laird (SCO) 37-40
78 - Dave McNabb (USA) 36-42, Charles Howell III (USA) 38-40, Andy Sullivan (ENG) 38-40, Davis Love III (USA) 38-40, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 38-40, Mackenzie Hughes (CAN) 38-40, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 39-39, J.J. Wood (USA) 37-41
79 - Rich Berberian (USA) 38-41, Padraig Harrington (IRL) 37-42, Patrick Rodgers (USA) 38-41, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 40-39, Brandon Stone (RSA) 40-39, Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 39-40, Phil Mickelson (USA) 39-40, Adam Hadwin (CAN) 40-39, Jamie Broce (USA) 40-39, Alex Beach (USA) 39-40, Kevin Na (USA) 40-39
80 - Ernie Els (RSA) 40-40, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 43-37, Song Young-Han (KOR) 39-41, Mike Small (USA) 40-40, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 42-38, Chris Kirk (USA) 38-42
81 - Adam Rainaud (USA) 40-41, Jimmy Walker (USA) 39-42, Chris Moody (USA) 42-39
82 - Rich Beem (USA) 40-42, Ryan Vermeer (USA) 43-39, Rod Perry (USA) 39-43, Paul Claxton (USA) 40-42
83 - Scott Hebert (USA) 40-43
84 - Stuart Deane (USA) 41-43, David Muttitt (USA) 42-42, Jaysen Hansen (USA) 41-43
WD - Andrew Johnston (ENG) 39-39, Kim Si-Woo (KOR) 40-39