PGA Championship Leaderboard 2012: Underdogs in Position to Climb on Day 2

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PGA Championship Leaderboard 2012: Underdogs in Position to Climb on Day 2
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

With one day of the final major of the year in the books, we have plenty of big names atop the leaderboard as well as some lesser known golfers at the 2012 PGA Championship.

Sweden's Carl Pettersson stands alone at the top of the board with a 6-under score of 66 for Thursday. But he has some international golf icons nipping at his heels.

Among them is Rory McIlroy, who hopes to salvage a disappointing 2012 season with a big win in what would be his second major victory. We've come to expect McIlroy fading quickly in majors after disappearing from this year's biggest tournaments, but he is right in the thick of things with a 5-under score of 67. 

Tiger Woods has undoubtedly had the strongest year all-round, and he's right in the thick of things at 3-under. 

Away from the usual contenders, let's take a look at some underdogs who find themselves in prime position to take the lead Friday and inch closer to shocking the world at Kiawah Island. 

 

Gary Woodlandcurrently T2 at 5-under

Nobody looked sharper in Thursday's opening round of the 2012 PGA Championship than American Gary Woodland.

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The 28-year-old is tied with McIlroy for second on the leaderboard at 5-under, and is ready to get his first top-10 major finish. His stellar eagle from the par-5 11th hole set the stage for a late rally. 

Woodland only has one win on the PGA Tour, but don't think that is keeping him from believing he can win this tournament. He's entering his golfing prime, and has been around long enough to know what it takes to stay in contention. 

He's coming off a respectable finish of 34th at The Open Championship in what was a tough field, and he'll make a real run at the lead Friday. 

 

Joost Luitencurrently T4 at 4-under

Even if you are a golf aficionado, you're not alone if Joost Luiten is a name you're unfamiliar with. 

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Luiten has only been on the scene since 2011, and has yet to make a splash on the big stage. That is, until this weekend. Luiten is currently tied for fourth and held the lead for much of the opening day. 

He added three birdies between holes 10 and 14, then notched a spectacular eagle on the 16th hole to put himself in a great position heading into Friday.

Don't be surprised if this newcomer sticks around throughout the weekend. 

 

Pat Perezcurrently T9 at 3-under

American Pat Perez is no stranger to the PGA Tour, in fact, he's been around it for nearly a decade. 

Which of these underdogs has the best shot to win?

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Even with his experience, the 36-year-old only has one win on the tour and has finished in the top 10 of a major just once (2005 PGA Championship). But because of his familiarity with the field and with the big stage, he'll stand out Friday.

His five birdies put him in a great position heading into the second round of play. Hitting birdies on two of the last three holes doesn't hurt, either. He'll use the strong finish from Thursday to make a run at the leaderboard on Friday. 

 

2012 PGA Championship Leaderboard on Day 1 (per ESPN.com)

1. Carl Pettersson: -6 (66)

T2. Gary Woodland: -5 (67)

T2. Rory McIlroy: -5 (67)

T4. John Daly: -4 (68)

T4. Geoff Ogilvy: -4 (68)

T4. Keegan Bradley: -4 (68)

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