First-Day Leader’s Dominant Round Makes Golf History

The first round of the 2024 PGA Championship is almost in the books, and one player has already entered the record books.

Xander Schauffele, who paces the leaderboard after the first day, made history by shooting a 9-under 62. That’s the lowest round in the PGA Championship’s 106 years.

Seventeen players have shot a 63 in PGA Championship rounds, but no one had shot a 62 until Thursday.

Xander Shauffele
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – MAY 16: Xander Schauffele of the United States plays his shot from the 15th tee during the first round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 16, 2024…

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Schauffele put together an incredible round of golf at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday. The 30-year-old had nine pars and nine birdies, playing bogey-free on the tournament’s opening day. He shot a 31 on both the front- and back-nines, and had 12 one-putts over the course of the day.

According to advanced stats from Data Golf, Schauffele had a monster day on the greens, gaining 4.1 strokes putting, better than anyone else in the field. From tee to green, he gained 5.1 strokes, second to only Scottie Scheffler, who gained 5.8.

Despite this impressive round of golf, Schauffele understands that he can’t get too high after just one day of the four-day event.

“It’s just one day,” Schauffele said to reporters after his round. “Very happy with how I played. I can’t think much more of it. I have to tee it up tomorrow.”

After the first day of play, Schauffele has a three-shot lead over second-place Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala. Last year’s winner, Brooks Koepka, shot a 4-under in his first round while Scheffler, the 2024 Masters winner, shot a 4-under, too.

Scheffler also had this incredible hole-out for eagle on the first hole.

Schauffele was born in La Jolla, California and belongs to four nationalities. His mother is from Taiwan while his father is half-German and half-French. His father, Stefan Schauffele, was a great athlete in Germany, but was struck by a drunk driver in a car accident that ended his dreams of playing in the Olympics. Schaffuele, however, was able to make that dream a reality for his family.

Shauffele qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and won the gold medal in the men’s individual stroke play competition after finishing at 18-under. It was the United States’ first Olympic gold in an individual event in golf since 1900.

This week, Schauffele is competing in his eighth PGA Championship. His best finish in this event came in 2020 when he tied for 10th place. He’s never won a major championship, but has finished tied for second place in both the Masters Tournament and the British Open. His highest finish in the U.S. Open is tied for third place.

Schauffele won the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award in 2016-17, and has 10 professional wins. He is currently the No. 3-ranked golfer in the world.