JORDAN Smith recovered from a rocky start to post a magnficent debut round and lie inside the top 20 at the US PGA Championship last night.

The Derry Hill ace, playing in his first major championship after winning the European Tour's Porsche European Open two weeks ago, carded an opening rouind of 70 to lie just three shots off the lead held by Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen at Quail Hollow Golf Club in North Carolina.

Bowood's Smith was three over par after just five rounds of his opening round, but recovered brilliantly to birdie the next three holes and, despite a bogey on the ninth, he added two more birdies on a flawless inward nine.

Yet it had all started so differently for the 24-year-old, whose first hole ended with him carding a double-bogey six after he found bunker trouble off the tee and then missed the green with his third shot.

A three-putt on the third cost him his next shot but after firing to six feet on the short sixth, he started a run of three successive birdies.

Despite finding the bunker again from the tee on seven, Smith sank a nine-foot birdie putt and then did likewise on the right from seven feet for another birdie.

More rough trouble cost him a shot on the ninth, but Smith tightened things up on the second nine, holing from 16 feet at the 12th for birdie and doing likewise from 16 feet on the 15th.

Smith was due to tee off his second round at 2.05pm British time this afternoon.