Phil Mickelson and Brian Davis bullied TPC Boston on their way to an eight-under 63, but that still isn't good enough to give them anything more than a one-stroke advantage.
This is still anyone's tournament, and it should be a wild ride as the FedEx Cup's top-100 players continue the second leg of this four-stage playoff.
I have my eye on three guys in particular who have a strong chance of chasing Mickelson and Davis down.
Check out the leaderboard, and then I'll get into my top three contenders.
View the full leaderboard at PGA.com.
|12 more golfers are tied at -5|
The bevy of low scores is not surprising. As PGATour.com points out, TPC Boston was the fourth easiest of the par-71s on tour last year with a scoring average of 70.647. At any rate, here are three guys I expect to take advantage of that.
Hunter Mahan hasn't picked up a PGA win this year, but he's had a solid season all the same. He has four top-10s and 13 top-25 finishes in his 22 PGA starts this year.
He hasn't been in the best form these past few weeks. He finished 57th at the PGA Championship and then 25th at Barclays last week. However, his improvement is key. Mahan's 57th came just two weeks after he withdrew, while in the lead, from the Canadian Open to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
Mahan is rounding back into form after that life-changing event. At his best, Mahan knows few equals when it comes to ball striking, and he was grooved on Friday.
Mahan hit 85.7 percent of his fairways and 88.9 percent of his greens in regulation.
With that kind of ball striking, Mahan will be in contention all week.
Speaking of ball striking, no one has been as strong as Jason Dufner recently. Dufner flashed his prodigious ability to hit darts while winning the PGA Championship. He wasn't anywhere near that level on Friday, which is what leads me to thinking he is ready to make a run at this title.
Dufner fired a five-under to sit right in contention. Were it not for two bogeys in three holes starting on No. 5, he'd be even higher on the leaderboard.
For his round, Dufner only hit 57.1 percent of his fairways and 55.6 of his greens in regulation. He was able to make up for this by great work with the flat iron. Dufner finished his day with 3.348 strokes gained-putting.
At some point, Dufner is going to start dialing in with his ball striking, and if he keeps putting anywhere near the level he did on Friday, he could run away with this tournament.
Playing alongside Mickelson, Tiger Woods was in the rare position of being an afterthought. He was completely overshadowed by his rival—and rightfully so.
Still, let's be clear: Tiger is lurking.
Woods was fairly unspectacular on Friday. He picked up two birdies on both the front and back, but also had a bogey on the day to finish at three-under.
He hit just 57.1 percent of his fairways but recovered to hit 72.2 percent of his greens in regulation. All of this is fairly typical for Woods when he is playing well. He will turn in a solid but nondescript Round 1 and then turn it on in the middle rounds.
To do this, he will have to start hitting a few more fairways, but that is well within his means, and so is a title.
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