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Tiger Woods walks on the 16th hold during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Latest: Zach Johnson, Scheffler off to early PGA lead

August 06, 2020 - 1:23 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest from the opening round of the PGA Championship:

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Zach Johnson and Scottie Scheffler are off to an early lead at 4 under at the PGA Championship.

Starting on the back nine, Johnson was through eight holes after three straight birdies at TPC Harding Park. Scheffler was through 12 holes.

Dustin Johnson and Jason Day were at 3 under. Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka was tied for fifth at minus-2 through eight holes in the first round on Thursday. Koepka would be the first golfer to win the tournament three times in a row since Walter Hagen won four in a row almost 100 years ago.

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Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka has teed off a TPC Harding Park as he tries to become the first golfer to win three PGA Championships in a row since Walter Hagen.

Koepka teed off on the back nine on Thursday morning and parred his first hole.

Koepka would be the first player ever to win the PGA Championship three straight times in stroke play. Hagen won four in a row from 1924-27, when it was match play.

The threesome of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas also teed off from the back nine on Thursday morning.

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Brian Harman hit the opening shot at the PGA Championship on Thursday, and it was clear as he looked down the first fairway at TPC Harding Park that it was a historic moment.

The fairway was lined by trees, not people.

The COVID-19 pandemic that forced the PGA Championship to move from May to August also led to this being the first major championship without spectators. That includes family members of the 156 players in the field, and limited media.

A few volunteers took out mobile phones to capture the moment. The starter announced in a microphone, “From Sea Island, Georgia, Brian Harman.” And there was no applause. There was no need for a microphone, either, but old habits die hard.

Harman pulled his tee shot into the rough. At least he found it. There is only one marshal for each hole, down from 12.

This is the first major of the year, with the Masters moved to November, the U.S. Open moved ot September and the British Open moved to 2021.

Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods were among those playing in the morning.

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