Xander Schauffele sets the mark in a low scoring first round, as a wet Friday awaits at the PGA Championship

It's not time to get too ahead of ourselves as we've only had one round of the 2024 PGA Championship, but sitting right at the top is a golfer who has come so close on a number of occasions in Majors and tour events.

Heading out just before 8am off the 10th tee on Thursday was Xander Schauffele, playing with Ludvig Aberg and Justin Thomas. The American would go on to shoot his first bogey-free round at the PGA Championship, which consisted of nine birdies.

Schauffele proved impossible to match and takes a three shot lead into the second round. Thomas (-2 and tied 32nd) spoke about playing alongside his fellow American:

"It doesn't help when you're not making many putts in the sense of you feel like you're not playing that well, but when you're playing with one of the easiest 9-unders you've ever seen, it makes you feel like you're shooting a million."

Quick to reiterate the point that it is only Thursday, post round Schauffele said, "It's a great start to a big
tournament. One I'm obviously always going to take. It's just Thursday. That's about it."

How does he cope mentally with being the 'nearly man'?

"I think not winning makes you want to win more, as weird as that is. For me, at least, I react to it, and I want it more and more and more, and it makes me want to work harder and harder and harder. The top feels far away, and I feel like I have a lot of work to do. But just slowly chipping away at it."

Three shots back at six-under-par are Americans Tony Finau, Sahith Theegala and Mark Hubbard. Finau also went bogey-free for the first time at the championship.

It may have seemed like the early starters had an advantage but on completion of play, the stroke average was almost identical.

The big three

Three players coming in off the back of victories have been at the top of the most talked about list, not only about their potential performance on the course but their lives off it too.

Scottie Scheffler started his round after Schauffele had posted his nine-under effort. There were a lot of great shots and low scores on Thursday but Scheffler probably produced the shot of the day, holing out for eagle on the first, which had us all wondering how low he was going to go.

It didn't quite give him the momentum you would have expected but a round of four-under-par, which included two bogies, sees the World Number one in a tie for 12th.

Did he feel any pressure heading out with nine-under as a target?

"I mean, there's nothing I can do. Xander went out and played a great round this morning and I'm not really going to worry about trying to shoot nine-under. I'm just going to go out and try to hit good shots and play my own game."

Also tied in 12th is defending Champion Brooks Koepka. It wasn't quite as spectacular but he also had an eagle moment on the seventh, to finish eagle, birdie, par. Only five shots back, Koepka is the master of being in the right position at the right time:

"Just stay patient. That's what majors are all about, I think. You can't win it today, but you just try to hang around and give yourself a chance or in a good spot come Sunday."

As for Rory McIlroy, he is one shot further up the leaderboard at five-under-par and tied for fifth. Three birdies on his final five holes, one a chip in on the sixth, jumped him up the leaderboard.

McIlroy felt there was more to do heading into the second round:

"I sort of felt like it was pretty scrappy for the most part. I don't really feel like I left many out there. I thought I got a lot out of my game today. Some good up-and-downs, the chip-in on 6. I had a little bit of a scrappy part around the turn there, but overall not really happy with how I played but at least happy with the score."

It's set to be a wet day in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, so rounds of 62 are unlikely to be on the cards and we'd expect the cut line to move over par. In the UK, Friday coverage kicks off at 1pm BST on Sky Sports Golf.

View the full PGA Championship leaderboard here.