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Stricker ties record to lead PGA Open Day

A beaming pronouncement: “It was a good day”,  summed up Steve Stricker’s opening round at the PGA Championship on Thursday.

And it could have been even better. The 44-year-old was one 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole from making major championship history.

"I realised it was for 62 but didn't realise it was for history," said Stricker, who is chasing a maiden major title.

"It never really registered. I was just trying to make a birdie and finish eight under. I never thought about the history of it. I hit a good putt. It just didn’t go in.”

The Wisconsin-native would still have been content with his stunning 63 that equalled the lowest round in major history, joining the ranks of Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Vijay Singh.

What was supposed to be the main event featuring the rising new star, US Open Champion Rory McIlroy and the fading legend, former number one Woods, trying to recapture his glory were overshadowed by the Stricker show.

McIlroy, the young man from Northern Ireland, who had come to the major with so much fanfare, left the day in an ambulance.

An ill-advised swing from the rough striking a tree root and enforcing an MRI after his round and resulting in a strained tendon in his wrist.

It has been reported that he will still make his 8:35 tee time on Friday.

While Woods’ performance was of even less note, as he struggled terribly with his tee shots and ending 14 shots behind Stricker.

“I’m not down. I’m really angry right now. There are a lot of words I could use beyond that,” said Woods following his round.

As it is Stricker, who won the Memorial Tournament in early June and the John Deere classic in early July, looks like a man on a mission. One in search of his maiden major.

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