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Unlike Woods, Westwood, McIlroy jump in front of PGA Championship leaderboard

Westwood starts strong in quest for first major
Westwood starts strong in quest for first major
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

The PGA Championship leaderboard may squeeze Tiger Woods out of the cut, if he has another round like the one on August 7. Nevertheless, the real surprise was that Woods played at the PGA Championship, not that he shot a +3 in round one. However, the top of the leaderboard has other big names on top early, like Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk and the still hot Rory McIlroy.

The very top has Westwood tied with the lesser known Ryan Palmer and Kevin Chappell for first place at -6. Nevertheless, the favorite has to remain McIlroy, after he recovered from a double bogey and bogey at 10 and 11 to put together five birdies the rest of the way. It left the British Open and Bridgestone Invitational champion one shot back at -5, tied with the likes of Furyk and Henrik Stenson.

Woods is out of the leaderboard because he couldn't make any putts and had to settle for pars most of the way, with the exception of four bogeys and a chip-in birdie. With another round like that, his PGA Championship will end early, although he will have lasted two days longer than most expected him to at the start of the week.

Nevertheless, Woods' bad luck didn't extend to his playing partner, as Phil Mickelson managed to reach -2 and tie for 20'th. It was one shot better than Sergio Garcia, whose close losses to McIlroy at the British and Bridgestone made him the second biggest PGA favorite. Yet he is currently -1 and has to make up another deficit to McIlroy and many others.

Garcia has long been one of the biggest names never to win a major, but he has raised hope lately that he could change that. However, its Westwood who currently looks closer to finally breaking through after years of near-misses, although there's a long way left for him to go.

Unknowns like Palmer and Chappell could also hang around, yet this hasn't been the year for golfers to come out of nowhere and win big tournaments. This year's major champions -- Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer and McIlroy -- have all won them in the past, which also doesn't bode well for Westwood. But by the time the second round ends on August 8, it will be clearer who might stay on the PGA Championship leaderboard for the long haul.

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