Rory McIlroy hits from a sand trap on the 16th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Rory McIlroy hits from a sand trap on the 16th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

PGA Championship Favorite McIlroy Struggles In Round 1

By Sports FOXBusiness

Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, the odds-on favorite to win this weekend’s 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey, got off to a slow start in the tournament's opening round. The event, which runs through Sunday, July 31, is the PGA Tour’s final major of the year.

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Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook gave McIlroy 7/1 odds of winning the tournament before play began on Thursday. The 27-year-old has earned nearly $2.6 million in prize money during the 2016 PGA Tour year.

McIlroy struggled during the first round of play. He shot a four-over 74 and finished nine shots off the lead. Despite his winnings, he hasn’t finished higher than third at any PGA Tour event this season. McIlroy is a two-time winner at the PGA Championship, earning titles in 2012 and 2014.

Dustin Johnson, who won his first-ever major at the 2016 U.S. Open in June, was given 8/1 odds of winning the PGA Championship. He teed off at 1:45 ET on Thursday. Johnson has already won two events this year and earned more than $7 million in prize money.

Jason Day, the world’s top-ranked golfer, is listed at 10/1. The 28-year-old Australian won the PGA Championship in 2015 and began his title defense with a two-under 68 on Thursday.

Other top contenders before play began were Jordan Spieth (12-1), Henrik Stenson (15/1), Phil Mickelson (15/1) and Sergio Garcia (20/1).

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As of 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, American golfer Jimmy Walker topped the PGA Championship’s leaderboard after finishing the first round with a five-under 65. Walker entered play with 125/1 odds of winning, according to Westgate SuperBook.

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