London: Dustin Johnson`s pursuit of a first major title at the PGA Championship gathered steam quickly on Thursday as the American powered to the top of the leaderboard at six-under par.
A 28-foot eagle at the par-five 16th helped propel Johnson to the early first-round lead at Whistling Straits -- where a rules violation cost him his chance at the 2010 PGA Championship crown.
At six under through 14 holes, Johnson had a one-stroke lead over Australian Jason Day and American J.B. Holmes, who were both five-under through 14.
Japan`s Hideki Matsuyama, playing in the second group off the 10th tee, started strong with four birdies in his first nine holes.
He moved as low as five-under before bogeys at three of his last four holes saw Matsuyama settle for a two-under par 70 -- one shot behind clubhouse leaders Brendan Steele and Thomas Bjorn.
Former world number one Tiger Woods, a 14-time major champion trying to end a streak of two straight missed cuts at major championships, was three-over through 13 holes.
The final major of the year got underway in perfect conditions, with light breezes greeting the morning starters on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Winds gusting up to 25 mph (40.23 Km/h) were forecast for the afternoon.
The marquee group of the day, featuring world number one and defending champion Rory McIlroy, Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth and British Open winner Zach Johnson, was due to tee off at 1:20 pm (18:20 GMT).