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Rory McIlroy starts strongly as Xander Schauffele hits course record

Xander Schauffele equalled the lowest score in men's major championship history for the second time in 11 months in the first round of the 106th US PGA Championship at Valhalla.

That left the American on nine-under par, four ahead of Rory McIlroy who started with an excellent 66.

Schauffele took advantage of ideal conditions for the early starters at Valhalla to fire nine birdies in a stunning 62, matching the mark set by Branden Grace in the 2017 Open and equalled by Rickie Fowler and Schauffele himself in the opening round of last year’s US Open.

Starting from the 10th, Schauffele made birdies at the 11th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th to reach the turn in 31 and picked up further shots on the second, fourth and fifth.

A two-putt birdie on the par-five seventh took the Olympic champion to nine under par and he safely parred the final two holes to break the course record of 63 set by Jose Maria Olazabal in 2000.

"It feels great," Schauffele said. "It’s just day one but if someone had said I was going to shoot nine under I would certainly have taken it.

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"I’ve been playing some really good golf, having a lot of close calls, so me and my team say why not keep chugging along?

"I’m very happy with the way I played but I can’t really think much more about it, just got to go and tee it up again tomorrow."

McIlroy's 66 matched the opening round he posted on his way to victory at Valhalla in 2014 and represented an impressive effort in his first competitive round since it emerged he had filed for divorce from his wife of seven years, Erica, on Monday.

The world number two’s round was in danger of falling apart when he followed two early birdies with a bogey on the 17th and a tee shot into the water on the 18th, a fate he

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