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Walker, Stenson start fast on first day of PGA Championship

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — A drab year for Jimmy Walker took a turn for the worse two weeks ago at the British Open, when he stayed in what was dubbed the “frat house” at Royal Troon with Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

Walker was the only one to miss the cut.

He still stayed the weekend. He just stayed away from the golf course, and his clubs. How does one kill time in such a small Scottish town?

“When the first guy comes back and he’s ready for a cocktail, you have one,” Walker said.

Thursday in the PGA Championship, the drinks were on Walker.

In the final major of the year, Walker finally saw enough putts to fall at Baltusrol that he matched his low score in a major with a 5-under 65 and wound up leading a major for the first time in his career.

Just like that, a stale year came to life.

Walker had a one-shot lead over two-time major champion Martin Kaymer, Emiliano Grillo and Ross Fisher.

And for Henrik Stenson, a great year might get even better. Coming off his record performance at the British Open, the Swede had three birdies on the back nine as the sweltering heat gave way to dark clouds and 20 mph gusts. That gave him a 67, leaving him two shots behind. Stenson is trying to join Ben Hogan in 1953 as the only players to win back-to-back majors at age 40.

“It’s going to be a great season for me,” Stenson said. “But at the same time, I want to give myself a chance to try to make it the best season.”