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5 takeaways from Round 1 at PGA Championship

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A hotly anticipated PGA Championship didn't disappoint on Day 1, with fireworks aplenty around a pillow-soft Valhalla Golf Club.

Xander Schauffele made noise early, matching the major championship record with a round of 62 - a score that held up over the course of the day to give him the solo lead.

With names like Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Brooks Koepka, and Scottie Scheffler lurking, the leaderboard is incredibly appealing.

Here are five takeaways from the opening 18 holes in Kentucky.

Nobody does 1st rounds like Xander

Schauffele became the first person to shoot 62 in a major championship on Thursday since ... himself 11 months ago in the opening round of the U.S. Open. If major championships were 18 holes in length, Schauffele would likely hold a number of trophies at this point in his career. The 30-year-old is among the fastest starters in golf with an outrageous difference in strokes gained splits from the first round to the remaining three.

Unfortunately for the World No. 3, tournaments are 72 holes in length, and he's got plenty of golf left to be played before the closing stretch Sunday. Schauffele has had issues closing out championships in the past, including this year's Players Championship and last week's Wells Fargo Championship. He held a one-stroke lead in both but couldn't close the deal. Whether he can seal the deal with three more days of solid golf is the biggest question at Valhalla after 18 holes.

Driver issues don't stop Rory

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McIlroy is arguably the best driver of the golf ball since Greg Norman. His ability to overpower a golf course was on full display at Valhalla 10 years ago when he won his last major championship. A quick look at McIlroy's 5-under 66 on Thursday would likely suggest he repeated that. However, that doesn't tell the story from Round 1.

McIlroy struggled with his driver, finishing the round ranked 134th in the 156-man field in strokes gained: off the tee. Despite putting himself in challenging positions, the 35-year-old only carded one bogey and was able to climb into fourth place on the strength of his approach play and short game. It's very unlikely McIlroy - who ranks fourth on TOUR this year off the tee - struggles with his driver Friday, so the four-time major winner has to be thrilled with his position moving forward.

Soft Valhalla offers little defense vs. world's best

Valhalla has provided incredibly compelling tournaments in previous events, but the course certainly won't be confused for some of the toughest tests in major championship golf. The soft conditions and perfect greens left the setup virtually defenseless to the best players in the world. Sixty-four players finished under par for the day, the most in PGA Championship history for an opening round. With rain expected throughout the day on Friday, the course will only get softer and yield more birdie chances for the field. That should put the PGA Championship scoring record of 16-under from Brooks Koepka in 2018 at serious risk of falling.

Heavy hitters lurking

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Major championships usually see the cream rise to the top, and Thursday certainly reflected that, with some heavy hitters lurking at Valhalla. Two-time major champion Morikawa joined McIlroy in the group tied for fourth, while defending champion Koepka and Scheffler are heading the pack bunched in 10th.

After bogeying two of his opening five holes, Morikawa reeled off seven birdies in his final 13 holes to vault up the leaderboard. Morikawa usually makes up his ground on approach play, but it was his short game that was the difference Thursday. He ranked ninth in putting and 11th in strokes gained: around-the-green for the day.

Koepka seemed to be stuck in neutral for most of his round, heading to No. 7 - his 16th hole of the day - at 1-under. However, the defending champion flipped the script with one shot, stiffing his second from 211 yards on the par 5 to just two feet for a kick-in eagle. He followed that up with a 37-foot bomb for birdie to finish with a 4-under 67. While he's still five shots behind Schauffele, that's actually one less than the six-shot deficit he faced last year at Oak Hill - an event he won for his fifth career major.

Anybody who questioned whether Scheffler's incredible form would be changed by the recent arrival of his first child was immediately made to look like a fool. The World No. 1 opened his round with the loudest roar of the day, one-hopping his 167-yard approach on the first into the hole for an electric eagle. Scheffler played his usual stress-free style from that point on to once again find himself within shouting distance of the lead.

Rahm stays in touch with closing charge

You could already see the columns being written about Jon Rahm's move to LIV Golf ruining his chances at major contention. The Spaniard has been one of the best major players in the world throughout his career but posted his worst-ever result at the Masters in what was his first major since joining the Saudi-backed circuit. Thursday brought about more struggles, as he was a startling 4-over on his first six holes and 13 shots off Schauffele's lead. His anger was clearly bubbling over - something that has been a constant throughout his career regardless of what tour he plays on.

However, Rahm reminded everyone what he's capable of with six birdies on his last 12 holes to get to 1-under for his round. While he's still eight shots behind Schauffele, that stretch kept him within distance of the lead and will quiet the critics of his move to LIV for at least another 12 hours.

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