Rory McIlroy's best first-round score of the PGA Tour season put him in position to take the lead into the weekend at the Travelers Championship.
The No. 1 player in the world shot a seven-under 63 at TPC River Highlands and sits three shots back of Canadian Mackenzie Hughes after 18 holes.
McIlroy is one of many notable names on the front page of the leaderboard. Xander Schauffele had the best Thursday afternoon round of 63, while Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia sit in a tie for fifth.
Seven of the top 10 players, including Hughes and McIlroy, will tee off during Friday's afternoon session. On Thursday, the morning threesomes produced the lower scores than the afternoon groups.
Travelers Championship Round 2 Information
TV: Golf Channel (3-6 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: GolfChannel.com; Featured groups on PGA Tour Live.
To Win Tournament
Rory McIlroy (+350; bet $100 to win $350)
Xander Schauffele (+600)
Bryson DeChambeau (+800)
Viktor Hovland (+900)
Jon Rahm (+1,600)
Sergio Garcia (+1.800)
Mackenzie Hughes (+2,000)
Odds via Caesars Palace.
McIlroy put up decent results in the last two tournaments, but he has not been the focal point of the leaderboard.
Thursday's 63 was his sixth round of the last nine in the 60s from the Charles Schwab Challenge, RBC Heritage and Travelers Championship.
But he has not produced back-to-back rounds beneath 65, which has been required for players to challenge for the lead at the last two competitions.
That should be the same case at TPC River Highlands since 32 players carded a 66 or better Thursday.
McIlroy admitted making the cut at the RBC Heritage and playing two extra rounds helped get him into more of a rhythm, according to ESPN.com's Nick Pietruszkiewicz.
"The two rounds last week at the weekend were very helpful for me coming into this week. It would have been terrible to miss the cut and not have those two rounds—not as practice, because you're sort of trying to get yourself into contention, but at the same time there's so much big stuff coming up at the end of the year, and that's really what you're trying to build towards."
Schauffele and Viktor Hovland could be the main threats to McIlroy taking the lead after the second round.
The pair of players at seven under may take advantage of the course in the morning, similar to what happened Thursday and during the first two days of the RBC Heritage.
Hovland has been the more consistent of the two players, as he posted a pair of top-25 finishes with six rounds of 68 or better in the last two weeks.
Schauffele was in contention to win the Charles Schwab Challenge, but then his game floundered at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Some of the morning focus will also be on golfers who could be in danger of missing the cut, like three-time Travelers champion Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
A week ago, the cut line was four under, and if more low scores appear Friday morning, the cut could be around that total.
While McIlroy will hold most of our attention in the afternoon, Mickelson and Garcia are worth watching to see if they can remain consistent in the mid 60s.
Mickelson has only carded back-to-back rounds in the 60s once this season during the first three rounds of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Before three straight 65s at the RBC Heritage, Garcia had not produced consecutive scores in the 60s in 2020.
It will also be interesting to see how Hughes handles the added pressure of being the first-round leader. The Canadian has a three-stroke advantage on his closest competition and could still be near, or at the top of the leaderboard when he hits the course.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from PGATour.com