Quiros hits the front

Alvaro Quiros has overtaken Rory McIlroy and has grabbed a share of the first round lead at the US PGA Championship.

Alvaro Quiros has overtaken Rory McIlroy and has grabbed a share of the first round lead at the US PGA Championship at the ultra-long Hazeltine National Golf Club as Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods continued last week’s duel.
The big-hitting Spaniard, making his debut in the championship, got off to a flying start on a warm, but overcast morning, in Minnesota with four birdies in his opening eight holes playing the back nine first.
A bogey at the 18th meant Quiros lost the outright lead but he still topped the leaderboard as he turned for home, at three under par alongside Australia’s Robert Allenby and American Dustin Johnson, both of whom had played 11 holes and Michael Bradley, a little-known American who had played seven and at one stage has also been at 4-under.
Having gone toe-to-toe at Firestone Country Club last Sunday in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Woods and Harrington were paired once more for the first two rounds alongside Rich Beem, the 2002 champion when last the event visited Hazeltine.
A triple-bogey from Harrington last Sunday had handed Woods his fifth victory of the year and the world number one, a four-time PGA champion, began the quest for his 15th major looking for a third tournament win in as many weeks.
As defending champion, Harrington had plenty at stake too and the pair matched each other shot for shot, both sinking birdies at the third of the day, the 12th, the Irishman with a great approach shot to six feet and Woods with a 25-foot putt.
Woods stole a march on the 642-yard, par-five 15th, getting up and down from a bunker but at the next hole Harrington caught up thanks to another good iron shot to six feet and after nine holes the illustrious pair were at two under, as was Beem, who recovered from an opening bogey to close out the back nine with three birdies.
That put the trio in a very early tie for fifth in a group of 10 also including Denmark’s Soren Hansen, Colombia’s Camilo Villegas and 2003 US PGA champion Shaun Micheel.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy got his US PGA debut off to a strong start as he opened with a birdie at the par-four 10th hole found himself atop a very early leaderboard at three under par after back to back birdies at the par-four 14th and par-five 15th.
McIlroy gave a shot back at the par-four 16th to make the turn at two under then dropped another at the par-four first and was one under after 12 holes. Compatriot Graeme McDowell was another on one under having played nine holes.