Through the first day of the PGA Championship, there are 11 golfers separated by only one stroke at the top of the leaderboard. If that's a sign of what's to come this weekend, then the first major tournament of 2020 could be poised to be exciting until the end.
Jason Day and Brendon Todd paced the field on Thursday, as they each shot a five-under 65 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, which is hosting the event for the first time. Behind that duo are nine golfers who shot a four-under 66, a group that includes Brooks Koepka, who has won the PGA Championship each of the past two years.
Many of the top-ranked golfers in the world didn't start as strong. Justin Thomas (No. 1) shot a one-over 71, while both Jon Rahm (No. 2) and Rory McIlroy (No. 3) shot a 70 and are sitting at even.
Here's everything you need to know heading into the second round, followed by several predictions for what will happen during Friday's action.
TV: ESPN, 4-10 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN+
Tee Times (ET):
11:22 a.m.: Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Scott
11:33 a.m.: Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia
4:03 p.m.: Martin Kaymer, Jason Dufner, Jason Day
4:36 p.m.: Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland, Shane Lowry
4:47 p.m.: Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose
4:58 p.m.: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas
A complete list of tee times is available at PGATour.com.
Koepka strong again, takes over lead
It appears Brooks Koepka has carried over the momentum from his strong showing at last weekend's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. At that tournament, the 30-year-old put an end to his recent struggles, tying for second after opening the event with an impressive 62.
Koepka didn't start that strong again, but he played a solid opening round Thursday, as he had six birdies, all of which came in a span of 10 holes, and is one of nine golfers tied for third at four under par. His round ended with five consecutive pars.
"It's only 18 holes right now," Koepka said, according to ESPN.com. "I feel good. I feel confident. I'm excited for the next three days. I think I can definitely play a lot better. Just need to tidy a few things up, and we'll be there come Sunday on the back nine."
Entering the second round, Koepka is in good position to take control of the lead as he looks to become the first golfer to win the PGA Championship in three consecutive years since the tournament changed to stroke play in 1958. Expect him to play even better Friday and ascend to the top of the leaderboard by the midway point of the tournament.
McIlroy bounces back, gets into contention
In 2015, Rory McIlroy had success in his only event played at TPC Harding Park, as he won the WGC-Cadillac Match Play event in dominating fashion. However, he had a quiet opening round on Thursday, shooting an even 70 and entering Friday tied for 48th.
That's about how recent weeks have gone for McIlroy, who has finished 32nd or worse at four of his past five tournaments. He's also shot lower than a 70 only twice in his past nine rounds.
McIlroy started on the back nine, and after beginning with a birdie and a par, he had a bogey on three consecutive holes (Nos. 12-14). He had three birdies and only one bogey the rest of the way, but that slow start prevented him from moving up the leaderboard.
On Friday, McIlroy should avoid having that bad of a stretch, and his past success on the course will help him find a way to better navigate it. He won't go all the way to the top of the leaderboard, but he'll play well enough to be within a few strokes of the leader and set himself up to contend for the win this weekend.
Tiger plays a bit better, never in jeopardy of missing cut
Tiger Woods got off to a strong start Thursday, as he began on the back nine holes and had two birdies and two pars through four holes. However, the 15-time major winner would end up right there at two under par by day's end, as he had three birdies and three bogeys the rest of the way.
Still, Woods is currently tied for 20th after shooting a 68, his best round at a PGA tournament since shooting a 68 in the opening round of the Genesis Invitational in February. He didn't shoot better than a 71 at last month's Memorial Tournament, in which he finished tied for 40th at six over par.
"I felt like I kept the round going most of the day, and I let a couple go here and there, but for the better part of the day, it was a very solid round," Woods said, according to Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports.
It was also a good starting point, as Woods should have no trouble making the cut and could potentially climb up the leaderboard heading into the weekend. That's likely what he'll do as he tries to win the PGA Championship for the first time since 2007, so be ready for an even better round from Woods on Friday.