Rory McIlroy insisted he remains firmly in contention for a fifth major title despite a disappointing finish to his first round of the US PGA Championship.

McIlroy was two-under-par after 12 holes at Quail Hollow, a venue where he has won twice on the PGA Tour and holds the course record of 61.

But the 28-year-old then bogeyed the 13th and drove into the water on the 14th on his way to a double-bogey six, eventually signing for a one-over-par 72 to finish five shots off the pace.

McIlroy was either first or second after the opening round in each of his major victories to date, but said: "I'm only five behind. It's a tough golf course. I shoot something in the 60s tomorrow, I move right up there. So yeah, I'm in it.

"For a stretch of that round, I drove it really well. I was hitting the ball well. I could see birdies. I can see a low one out there. It's just a matter of not shooting yourself in the foot too often like I did.

"It wasn't very easy. It was tough. The greens got very grainy as the day went on as well. If you just hit a putt a tiny bit off line, it exaggerated it.

"It was tough to hole putts this afternoon. Hopefully the surfaces are a little better tomorrow morning and we can hopefully hole some more putts.

"The greens are as firm as I've ever seen at a PGA Championship. That makes things difficult. It (Quail Hollow) is definitely playing a few shots harder than it usually is and it's a major championship. It should be."

Graeme McDowell was a shot further back on 73

"My two birdies were both tap-ins," he told RTÉ Sport. "I didn't make a whole lot of putts out there but this golf course is a proper test.

"I really didn't drive the ball well, hit a lot of quality approach shots and gave myself some looks but just couldn't seem to take them.

"As tough as it is, if I go and shoot a couple of under tomorrow, I think I'll be there or thereabouts for the weekend."

Shane Lowry was one of the early starters and posted three over par, while Padraig Harrington's eight-over 79 included four double bogeys.

"I feel like I played nicely," Lowry said. "The course is so difficult, the greens are so firm and if you get yourself out of position it’s so difficult to make pars.

"I did a great job and holed some great putts for pars. I was very disappointed to bogie the last, but three over is three over. I don’t know what the scoring is going to be like, there might be a few guys a couple under, but it’s very difficult out there.

US PGA Championship Round 2 tee-times (Irish time)
1325 Rory McIlroy
1350 Graeme McDowell
1735 Shane Lowry
1855 Padraig Harrington