A long putt on No. 16 set up another birdie and then he stuck an iron to within one foot at No. 18. The front nine offered more scoring opportunities on Nos. 1, 4 and 7.
The only misstep came on his final hole – No. 9 – where he suffered a bogey.
“Hit a bunch of fairways today,” he said. “Fun day with the putter.”
Surprising David Hearn near the top (10:30 a.m. update)
With a Canadian near the top of the leaderboard, you just knew that talk around the PGA Championship would eventually turn to hockey.
David Hearn, who finished at 4-under for the first round at Oak Hill Country Club, comes from the same town in Ontario as Wayne Gretzky. He was asked about the 25-year anniversary of the trade that sent the Great One to the Los Angeles Kings.
“It was 1988, so I was 9,” Hearn said. “It was certainly one of those events as a Canadian that nobody will forget.”
No surprise that the Gretzky family counts as royalty around Brantford, Canada. Hearn said he has run into Gretzky on numerous occasions, including at a Web.com Tour event that the hockey Hall of Famer has hosted.
Gretzky offered both advice and inspiration.
“Coming from a hockey background, it wasn’t directly golf-related,” Hearn recalled. “But you know, he definitely just shows a good example of how he became successful, and he was one of the hardest workers when he grew up in Brantford.”
Jim Furyk takes early lead (10 a.m. update)
When the weekend comes around, the players at the PGA Championship might look back and say that Thursday morning provided the best scoring conditions of the tournament.
On a course known for being difficult, a slew of players stood under par through a significant portion of the first round.
Overnight rain and light winds made Oak Hill Country Club play softer and friendlier than expected, leading to plenty of birdie opportunities and a leader, Jim Furyk, at 5-under through 15 holes.
Several marquee names joined Furyk on the leaderboard, with the likes of Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods within four strokes. David Hearn, of Canada, was something of a surprise, reaching the clubhouse at 4-under.
Making his first appearance at a PGA Championship, Hearn stuck his approaches on Nos. 10 and 16, and made a 10-foot putt for birdie on No. 11.
The Ontario native — who hails from the same town as Wayne Gretzky — said he was glad to start early and make use of the moisture on the course.
“It feels good for me to be in contention,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been playing good golf this month.”