History for brilliant leader Koepka as Woods toils at Bethpage Black

Tiger Woods struggled at Bethpage Black, but Brooks Koepka began his US PGA Championship defence in style.

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka at the US PGA Championship   -  Getty Images

Brooks Koepka made US PGA Championship history on Thursday but it was a testing first round for Tiger Woods at Bethpage Black.

Defending champion Koepka carded a sublime seven-under-par 63 and was leading by four shots from Tommy Fleetwood after his opening 18 holes.

Koepka is the first player to card 63 in back-to-back PGA Championships, making seven birdies in a dazzling bogey-free round at a long and difficult course in Long Island, New York.

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Much was expected of Woods after he ended an 11-year wait for major glory with his triumph at the Masters last month.

But the 43-year-old, starting at the 10th and playing with Koepka and Open champion Francesco Molinari, began his round with a double-bogey six and, although a birdie at the 15th followed, another double at 17 saw him reach the turn at three over.

Woods went four under to start his homeward stretch, but a run of three dropped shots between the fifth and eighth holes meant he ended up nine shots off the lead at two over par.

READ | Tracing Tiger Woods' journey in the 11 years between his Masters triumphs

Luke List, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Chez Reavie were all in the clubhouse at two under, while Paul Casey and Gary Woodland were on the same score having played five and four holes respectively.

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, who were among the day's later starters – they were each one over in the early stages.

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