2022 PNC Championship Rankings: Tigers, Charlie Woods in pursuit as Team Thomas lead after Round 1

Birdies abounded in the first round of the 2022 PNC Championship as teams shot from the gates of the Ritz Carlton Golf Club. Standing out above the rest was a couple who had their fair share of success at the event: 2020 champions Justin Thomas and his father Mike. The two-time PGA championship winner and 40-year-old PGA pro was exquisite around the par 72 on Saturday, signing for a 15-under 57 to maintain a two-stroke lead over Team Singh and Team Woods at 13-under.

Playing in a two-person scramble format, Team Thomas featured alongside Tiger and Charlie Woods in the final pairing of the day. The two close families fought back and forth for most of the day before an eagle off Justin’s putter on the par-5 14th propelled Team Thomas into part of the lead with Team Singh already in the clubhouse.

Additional birdies on two of their last four holes gave Team Thomas a significant advantage going into tomorrow’s final round. With 11 birdies, two eagles and just five pars, Justin and Mike are in best position to win their second PNC championship title in the last three years.

the leader

1st team Thomas (-15)

Justin has been looking great over the past month, completing the Hero World Challenge on a high note and dominating The Match 7. He continued that quality game on Saturday, and with some timely help from his father, the pair were able to finish under 15 — good for the second-lowest round in tournament history. With off-speed wedges, booming drives and precise putts, the two will be a difficult duo on Sunday.

“We’re out here to have fun and play golf,” Thomas said. “The course is obviously right in front of you, big fairways, big greens and I really like cleaning when I see a putt in front of me and that helps quite a bit. Poor papa is unfortunately the guinea pig at every single hole, but sometimes if I give him a good read he taps it in.”

Other contenders

T2. Team Singh, Team Woods (-13)

4th team Langer (-12)

T5. Team Daly, Team Spieth, Team Cink, Team Leonard, Team O’Meara, Team Lehman (-11)

Team Woods came into the minds of most of the week and showed courage and brains on Saturday. While Tiger played with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and Charlie struggled with an ongoing left ankle injury, although they didn’t feel 100%, they stayed within reach of Team Thomas. After nearly chasing Team Daly in last year’s final round and at one point carding 11 straight birdies on that fateful day, something similar will have to be up their sleeve if they are to catch their good buddies with whom they will play for the second day in a row .

“I see that all the time at home, I’m used to it,” Tiger of Charlie’s Game said. “Unfortunately, this is not the game plan we originally planned. His ankle doesn’t feel great so I had to do a few more drives than usual. Obviously it was a great day. We managed to be a little warmer early in the middle of the lap, didn’t use it towards the end, but we’re in a great position for tomorrow.”

What did Tiger and Charlie look like?

The two, dating back to last year, have now signed up for consecutive sub-60 rounds in this format. At the very start of the day it didn’t look like it was going to be as good as it ended up being as Team Woods was only 1 under on the first three holes. Boosted by a skillful wedge shot from Charlie, Tiger took the wheel as he spotted some magic on and around the green.

Highlighted by a chip-in eagle on the par-5 5, Team Woods caught fire going into the inner half as they played holes #4 through 11 in a 9-under manner. Some hairy situations arose when Tiger was asked to hole clutch par putts one too many times in the latter stages of her round. And while just three birdies on the last seven holes leave the pair craving more, they remain deep in this championship and just two strokes behind Team Thomas.

Spieth Magic runs in the family

When you think of authoritative golf shots, Jordan Spieth immediately comes to mind, but on Saturday it was clear that he wasn’t the only member of the Spieth family with the magic touch. Team Spieth played alongside his father Shawn and shot 11-for-61 thanks in part to some stunning moments from the pair on the green.

The youngest competitor in event history steals the show

11-year-old Will McGee starred alongside his mother Annika Sorenstam and stole the show on Saturday. Hitting putts and hitting fine wedge shots, McGee quickly became a fan favorite of those who came out to see the action and helped his Hall of Famer mother on her way to a 10-under-62.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *