Haotong Li has outplayed a PGA Championship field chock-full of high-profile golfers through two rounds at TPC Harding Park.
The 25-year-old was in front for most of Friday, as he broke out of the second threesome on course to record a five-under 65. Now Li's task is to fend off challenges from Brooks Koepka, Jason Day and others from the final pairing of Saturday's third round.
How the 36-hole leader reacts to the pressure of holding first place on the third day of a major is one of the top third-round storylines.
Long before Li and Tommy Fleetwood tee off at 6 p.m. ET, Tiger Woods will take the course in an attempt to rebound from a second-round 72. Although Woods may not contend for the title, he will be monitored closely as one of the top golfers out early.
PGA Championship Leaderboard
Haotong Li (-8)
Tommy Fleetwood (-6)
Jason Day (-6)
Daniel Berger (-6)
Brooks Koepka (-6)
Justin Rose (-6)
Mike Lorenzo-Vera (-6)
Cameron Champ (-5)
Paul Casey (-5)
Brendon Todd (-5)
Full leaderboard can be found on PGATour.com.
Storylines To Watch
Will Li Hold Off Handful of Previous Major Champions?
Li's position on top of the leaderboard was even a surprise to him, per ESPN.
"I didn't even [think] I could play like this," Li said. "... [I've] got no confidence. Probably it helped me clear my mind a little bit."
Li used birdies on three of his first five holes to skyrocket into the lead before most of the other competitors took a single shot Friday.
Even with Koepka, Day and others lurking beneath him, Li could make a case to be one of the top contenders going into the weekend. He has a single bogey through 36 holes, and most of his birdies have come on the front nine.
If he keeps that up Saturday, he could gain even more confidence and keep a safe distance between himself and a who's who of previous major champions.
Li could bank on the experience of finishing third at The Open in 2017. But during that tournament, he did not place in the top 10 after the first three rounds and benefited from a final-round 63. If he struggles through the first few holes, he will be under more pressure. How he deals with that could decide how high he finishes Sunday night.
Will Tiger Woods Improve After 2nd-Round 72?
Woods is one of a handful of high-profile players who barely survived the cut and will tee off in the first two hours of competition Saturday.
The 15-time major winner is scheduled to tee off at 1 p.m. ET alongside Keith Mitchell, who also recorded a first-round 68 and second-round 72.
Woods is coming off a round in which he carded more bogeys than birdies, and he did not gain any strokes on the front nine Friday. If he registers similar totals Saturday, Woods will likely be mired near the bottom of the leaderboard for the third and fourth rounds.
However, the conditions could be on Woods' side since the lowest scores of the first two rounds came from morning threesomes.
If Woods picks up a birdie or two early on, it could allow him to play with more confidence as the wind picks up in afternoon, as it has the past two days. And were he to start out on a positive note, the 44-year-old may have a chance to record his sixth top-30 major finish in the past three years.