Rory McIlroy swing

May 19, 2022; Tulsa, OK, USA; Rory McIlroy plays his shot on the ninth tee during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

  • Rory McIlroy leads the PGA Championship by one over Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge after the first round
  • 26 players are within four shots of top spot including Justin Thomas, who is two back
  • See the updated 2022 PGA Championship odds below for Friday’s second round within the story below

Through 18 holes of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Rory McIlroy holds the outright lead by one stroke over Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge.

In each of McIlroy’s four major wins, he was either in the lead or one shot back after the first day, which bodes well in his quest to win his first major since 2014. He entered the week among the favorites to add to his major collection, after his runner-up at last month’s Masters.

The wind picked up in the afternoon, making this track play very difficult, as the threesome of the top-three golfers in the world (Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa) all shot over par.

Other big names to struggle on day one included Jordan Spieth (+2), Dustin Johnson (+3), Tiger Woods (+4), Brooks Koepka (+5), and Patrick Cantlay (+6). Read on to see the updated odds and best value bets.

2022 Updated PGA Championship Odds

Golfer Position Score Odds
Rory McIlroy 1st -5 +300
Justin Thomas T-4th -3 +700
Will Zalatoris T-2nd -4 +1000
Xander Schauffele T-7th -2 +1200
Cameron Smith T-7th -2 +1200
Matt Fitzpatrick T-7th -2 +2000
Scottie Scheffler T-38th +1 +2000
Tom Hoge T-2nd -4 +2500
Joaquin Niemann T-7th -2 +2500
Viktor Hovland T-27th EVEN +2800
Abraham Ancer T-4th -3 +3000
Matt Kuchar T-4th -3 +3500
Shane Lowry T-27th EVEN +3500
Tony Finau T-16th -1 +4000
Jordan Spieth T-56th +2 +5000

Odds as of May 19th at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Tiger Woods had it going early on in his first tournament since the Masters, starting two-under-par through the first five holes. He followed that up by shooting six-over-par the rest of the way to card a 4-over, 74, which is a full nine back of his player partner McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy Jumps Out To Early Lead

A running theme for Rory McIlroy since he last won a major at the 2014 PGA has been a lousy first round scoring average, followed by him battling back to post a respectable finish in the event.

This time, he played a brilliant round with seven birdies against two bogeys to post the best opening round score. It’s unfamiliar territory in recent years for the Ulsterman, as he leads after any round of a major for the first time in eight years.

McIlroy ranked fourth in both strokes gained off-the-tee and putting on Thursday, which is a dangerous combo, given that he finally got the first round struggles monkey off his back. He’s ranked third in total strokes gained the last 24 rounds on tour, so it would be a stunner if he wasn’t at least in the mix come Sunday afternoon.

The issue with running out to lay a sizeable wager on the two-time PGA champion is his incredible low +300 odds to win outright. That simply is not an enticing number for a player who has been stuck at four majors, without a trophy in his last 27 grand slam events.

The better line is Justin Thomas, who shot a scintillating 3-under-par, 67 in the tougher afternoon conditions. The 2017 PGA champion has posted top-10’s in five of his last seven stroke play events, and he’s just two back. His odds of +700 are much more intriguing than the low price ticket on Rory.

2022 PGA Championship Best Live Value Picks

  1. Matt Fitzpatrick (+2000): Though he’s still looking for his first win Stateside, two-time European Ryder-Cupper Matt Fitzpatrick is built for tough championships, excelling when the going gets tougher. Nine of his last 11 worldwide starts he’s been inside the top-20, including six top-10’s, with a runner-up in his last tournament. He’s just three back after a solid 68 where he made four birdies and two bogeys.
  2. Viktor Hovland (+2800): Norwegian sensation Viktor Hovland knows how to win on the PGA Tour, as he has three trophies already. The superstar in the making has racked up three wins in the last half year worldwide and has been knocking on the door and ready to take that next step in his career. He’s been nothing worse than 33rd in the eight majors he’s completed, and is third in SG: approach this year and fourth in birdie average. Hovland fired a solid even par, 70, to sit five adrift.
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