Players who can make a run on Saturday at the 2020 PGA Championship
If the 2020 PGA Championship has taught us anything through two rounds, it’s this: Take advantage of the morning conditions at TPC Harding Park.
Most of the best rounds of the tournament have been shot in the morning wave: The 6-under-par 64s by Tommy Fleetwood and Cameron Champ on Friday and the 65s by leader Haotong Li on Friday and Jason Day on Thursday. The outlier is Brendon Todd’s 65 during the afternoon in round 1.
The course tends to play softer in the damp morning conditions, allowing guys to control approach shots. With the wind picking up every afternoon, the greens dry out and get firmer. In the cross breeze off of Lake Merced, club selection and ball-striking become more of a challenge. All in all, scoring gets tougher.
When asked on Friday if the course was set up for big swings on the weekend, Tiger Woods said: “Yeah, absolutely. This golf course is - with the dots for (the pins), they've got them in some tough spots.”
A few big names could get back into the mix on moving day with strong morning rounds. Here are five to watch:
- Justin Thomas: Birdieing five of his first seven holes, Thomas is already on the prowl at 4-under early in the third round. The World No. 1 is always a threat.
- Rory McIlroy: If you take out a triple bogey at no. 12 during the second round, he could be at 4-under and lurking. Instead, he’s 1-under and tied for 31st heading into Saturday. Averaging five birdies per round through two days, he’s capable of going low.
- Tiger Woods: A day after some magic with the new putter, Woods lost his feel during round 2, dropping back to even par for the tournament. Woods could put a scare into the leaders if he regains his touch.
- Jon Rahm: The world’s No. 2-ranked player hasn’t been great, but he hasn’t been bad, either. He’s one of a handful of prominent players stuck at 1-under who probably feel like they’re close to getting into contention.
- Gary Woodland: Long drives work well at TPC Harding Park, and Woodland can move it with the best of them. Sitting at 1-under, a nice round could push the 2019 U.S. Open champion up the leaderboard.