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Gary Woodland, a former golfer for the University of Kansas, finished Thursday's opening round at six-under-par 64 and took sole possession of first place in the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. 

Woodland birdied five holes on the back nine to overtake Rickie Fowler, who shot 65 in an early-morning round and held the lead all day until Woodland's charge.

"I've been hitting the golf ball beautifully coming into this week," Woodland said. "I have a million friends and family out here, which is pretty cool. So I was probably off pressing a little bit, and I kind of settled in there really on five, and outside of that I hit the golf ball beautifully."

The 34-year-old birdied holes 16 and 17 to put himself ahead of Fowler. 

Woodland is an 11-year veteran of the PGA Tour with five career wins. He twice has tied for 12th place in a major, including at the 2011 PGA Championship.

"This week is as close to home as I've been," Woodland said. "I snuck over here about a month ago and played and saw the golf course." 

Fowler sits alone in second place after he birdied five of his last nine holes.

Nine players, including world No. 1-ranked golfer Dustin Johnson, are in a pack at three-under par 67. 

Fowler, 29, still is seeking his first win in one of professional golf's majors. He finished second at the Masters earlier this year. 

Tiger Woods' round got off to a slow start but he finished five shots off the early pace with an even-par 70. 


Here are our earlier updates from the tournament:

Johnson charging

Dustin Johnson got to five-under-par and a tie with Fowler through 13 holes by making six birdies in a nine-hole stretch. But the world's No. 1-ranked player bogeyed the 14th hole, handing the solo lead back to Fowler. 

Update: Johnson finished the day at three-under 67. 

Mickelson struggles

Phil Mickelson found his way into all sorts of trouble in his opening round and dug himself a hole before .

Starting on the back nine, he birdied No. 11. It's been all downhill since. Mickelson has three bogeys and two double bogeys to sit at plus-5 through 13 holes.

On No. 3 he hit his drive into the water. On No. 4 he hit his drive into the rough and followed by sending it into a sand trap. On another hole he sent his drive into the crowd, where the ball settled near a tree.

12:45 p.m. update: Mickelson's day brightened as his round was winding down and he closed at 3-over 73.

Thomas starts fast

Defending PGA champion Justin Thomas has emerged as the frontrunner in his three-man group with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Thomas is at three-under-par through nine holes and is tied for the overall lead with Rickie Fowler and Stewart Cink as of 10:55 a.m.

Woods had an up-and-down first nine holes and sits at two-over. He managed to save par on 15 after landing in the rough twice, but he suffered two bogeys and a double bogey.

Woods 2-over, Thomas 3-under through 9

Tiger Woods was three-over-par through his first two holes, but a strong drive and well-placed second shot set up a birdie on the 12th hole, Woods' third of the day. He played the first nine at two-over.

Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are golfing with Woods. Thomas, the defending PGA champion, is three-under through nine holes. 

Woods, star-studded group begin play

As Tiger Woods stepped up to the tee on the 10th hole, his first of the day, a throng of fans erupted. 

"Show these young guns how it's done, Tiger," one yelled. 

Woods was in a group with Justin Thomas, the 2017 PGA Champion, as well as four-time major champion Rory McIlroy. Woods missed the fairway on his opening drive, and he and McIlroy both bogeyed the hole. Thomas made par. 

Michael Block tees off, and the PGA is underway

(Update: Block completed the first round at five-over-par 75.)

Michael Block, a former golfer at Parkway Central and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, waved to the crowd as his name was announced at the first hole at Bellerive. He hit his tee shot at 6:50 a.m., kicking off the 100th PGA Championship.