5 things to know ahead of Friday’s second round at the PGA Championship

Brooks Koepka tees off on the 10th hole at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course during the first round of the 2021 PGA Championship.

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After days of speculation regarding just how tough Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course would be, the 2021 PGA Championship finally got underway on Thursday. While the course showed plenty of teeth, there was also ample reason for players to feel optimistic. Here are five things you need to know ahead of Friday’s second round.

Corey Connors leads

Twenty-nine-year-old Corey Connors shot a five-under 67 to lead the field by two shots. The Canadian has a lone PGA Tour title to his name, but he’s performed well in big events of late, with two top 10s in the last two Masters, and a solo seventh at the Players Championship.

Brooks is back!

As if you needed further proof that Brooks Kopeka is truly a major player, the four-time major champion is back in the mix this week, firing a round of three-under 69 to sit two shots off the lead, despite missing his last two cuts on the PGA Tour and battling a knee injury. “It’s a major; I’m going to show up,” Koepka said on Thursday. “I got everything under control and know what I’m doing. Last week [at the Byron Nelson] was a good test just to see where I’m at for two days. I thought if I got four, it would be nice, but two days of rest didn’t hurt me.”

Phil mickelson
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By: GOLF Editors

Rory’s rough start

All signs pointed to a Rory resurgence this week. Yes, it’s been nearly seven(!) years since McIlroy’s last major win, the 2014 PGA. But the Northern Irishman just notched his 19th PGA Tour victory two weeks ago at the Wells Fargo Championship, and seemed to be rounding into form just in time to claim major No. 5 at a venue where he’d won once before — by eight shots — in 2012. Alas, McIlroy opened with a three-over 75. He’s by no means out of it, but has loads of work to do to play himself back into relevancy.

Other big names in contention

Chasing Connors is a logjam of six players tied for second at three-under: Sam Horsfield, Cam Davis, Keegan Bradley, Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka and Aaron Wise. Behind them, at two under, there are eight more players: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Gary Woodland, Kevin Streelman, Sungjae Im, Cameron Tringale, Martin Laird and Collin Morikawa. In short: the leaderboard is tightly packed, meaning Friday will be a mini-Moving Day all its own.

Friday forecast

Friday is expected to be yet another perfect day for golf, with temperatures maxing out in the high 70s with moderate wind speeds, blowing around 10 mph in the morning and peaking at 16 mph in the afternoon.

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