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PNC Championship 2022: Justin Thomas' Group Leads Tiger, Charlie Woods After Round 1

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 17, 2022

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 17: Justin Thomas hits a tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the PNC Championship on December 17, 2022 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, FL.(Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The team of Justin Thomas and his father, Mike, finished Saturday's opening round play at the PNC Championship atop the scoreboard after shooting a 15-under 57.

That gave them a two-stroke lead over Team Singh and Team Woods.

The PNC Championship features PGA Tour stars paired with one of their family members in a two-person scramble format. The format allows teams to select the best drive or putt per stroke, while the discarded hit doesn't count against the score.

The day's highlight was undoubtedly the back and forth between the eventual leaders, Team Thomas, and the duo of Tiger Woods and his son, Charlie:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Like father, like son 😅 <a href="https://t.co/3ApquBZi5P">pic.twitter.com/3ApquBZi5P</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Never a doubt.<a href="https://twitter.com/TigerWoods?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TigerWoods</a> walks it in again <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a>. <a href="https://t.co/Ligbl9xg1z">pic.twitter.com/Ligbl9xg1z</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

What a response from Team Thomas.<br><br>Mike Thomas walks it in front of Tiger and Charlie 😅 <a href="https://t.co/SIdrfeACXN">pic.twitter.com/SIdrfeACXN</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Somebody's closer 😅 <a href="https://twitter.com/JustinThomas34?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JustinThomas34</a> hits it tight. <a href="https://twitter.com/TigerWoods?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TigerWoods</a> hits it closer. <a href="https://t.co/aAF3B5ckv9">pic.twitter.com/aAF3B5ckv9</a>

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Here comes <a href="https://twitter.com/JustinThomas34?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JustinThomas34</a> 🔥 <br><br>Team Thomas is now tied for the lead after the eagle <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a>. <a href="https://t.co/mZzgpISZe1">https://t.co/mZzgpISZe1</a> <a href="https://t.co/MhwhexJiMz">pic.twitter.com/MhwhexJiMz</a>

Team Langer ended the day in fourth (-12), while seven teams settled into a tie for fifth at 11 under.

The Woods' duo was one of the day's biggest stories, with young Charlie continuing to prove himself an adept golfer.

"Well this is what I see at home all the time, so I'm used to it," Tiger said of his son's impressive play after the round, before teasing him a touch. "Unfortunately, this is not the game plan that we had originally planned out. His ankle's not exactly feeling the best, so I've had to hit a couple more drives than I normally would. But obviously it was a great day. ... We're in a great position for tomorrow."

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Tiger and Charlie Woods full interview after their round <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a> 🎤 <a href="https://t.co/shTqz2tZmP">pic.twitter.com/shTqz2tZmP</a>

They'll be trying to catch a Team Thomas duo that had 11 birdies, two eagles and no bogeys on the day, an impressive round to say the least.

The round came under the backdrop of LIV CEO and commissioner Greg Norman saying he had reached out to Thomas about potentially defecting, during an interview with the magazine bunkered.

"I mean, we talked to JT," he said. "Me and another member of my team, we sat down with him and gave him the full presentation and, if you notice, he's not said much negative about what we're doing, presumably because he knows it and understands it."

Thomas had previously said back in June he was disappointed to see so many players leave for LIV Golf and wished they hadn't defected, calling the PGA Tour "the best place to play in the world."

Justin Thomas @JustinThomas34

What a week. That's why we play, and that's why we play on the <a href="https://twitter.com/PGATOUR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PGATOUR</a>. Got to battle against one of the best today and got out dueled, but not without a fight. Congrats to <a href="https://twitter.com/McIlroyRory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McIlroyRory</a> on his 21st (😉) win and an amazing finish. Can't wait for <a href="https://twitter.com/usopengolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@usopengolf</a>!

After Thomas' previous comments, it's hard to imagine him making the switch. Whatever he decides, it didn't appear to be much of a distraction Saturday.