Fowler pays tributes to Lyle as he sets early US PGA pace


Fowler has had nine top-five finishes at major championships
US PGA Championship 2018
Dates: 9-12 August Venue: Bellerive Country Club Coverage: Commentary on 5 live sports extra from 22:00 BST Thursday-Saturday; 5 live 20:30 Sunday; live text updates on BBC Sport website

Rickie Fowler is the early clubhouse leader at the US PGA Championship after starting his latest bid to win a first major with an impressive five-under 65.

Starting his opening round on the 10th, the American holed six birdies to card his joint-lowest round at a major.

England’s Ian Poulter and 2016 champion Jason Day of Australia are among a group on three under at Bellerive.

Defending champion Justin Thomas ended one under, while playing partners Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods finished level.

World number one Dustin Johnson and England pair Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood are among the later starters on day one in St Louis.

Fowler, 29, has long been tipped as a major winner but, despite a number of near misses, has not been able to earn a career-defining triumph at the Masters, US Open, The Open Championship or PGA Championship.

The world number nine, who has twice finished in the top five at each of the majors, is the highest-ranked player yet to win one of golf’s biggest prizes.

His opening birdie on the 14th was cancelled out when he found the sand on the par-three 16th, but he rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-five 17th to turn at one under.

Fowler, who found 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation, added four more birdies on the front nine to match his 65 at this year’s Masters.

Day ‘tears up’ as players pay tribute to Lyle

Many players wore yellow ribbons during their rounds in tribute to Australian tour player Jarrod Lyle, who has died of cancer aged 36.

Lyle, who played 121 PGA events between 2006 and 2016, overcame acute myeloid leukaemia in 1998 and 2012, before announcing it had returned last year.

He died on Wednesday, after spending his final days with family and friends.

Lyle’s fellow Australian Adam Scott and five-time major champion Phil Mickelson were among the many players wearing a yellow ribbon, which is a symbol to raise awareness about cancer.

Jason Day, another Australian player, fought back the tears as he talked about his “good buddy” Lyle after his round.

“It’s hard because you sit there and you know him and he’s a buddy of yours, and he’s not there anymore,” said the 2016 PGA Championship winner. “He’s never going to come back.

“That’s the hardest thing to sort of come by. Now I’m tearing up.”

Australian Adam Scott was one of a number of players wearing a yellow ribbon

Fowler wore a duck pin badge on the front of his cap – a reference to the duck cover Lyle used to have on his driver – while also deciding to wear a yellow shirt in honour of Lyle.

“The last few weeks we’ve all been thinking about Jarrod a lot,” he said.

“I was scripted to wear dark blue but immediately changed. Last week I had the pin on the side and today he’s front and centre. It’s definitely tough.

“Jarrod wouldn’t want us out here feeling sorry and feeling bad, he would tell us to go out and have some fun.

“You’re trying to go out there and keep living life like he did, but it’s unfortunate that he’s not here with us.”

Rickie Fowler moved his duck pin badge to the front of his cap

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