2020 Charles Schwab Challenge leaderboard breakdown, takeaways: Justin Rose, Justin Thomas hot in Round 1
Scores, analysis and highlights from Round 1 of the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge
Great golf from a loaded-up field at the Charles Schwab Challenge was to be expected on Thursday in the first PGA Tour round in 91 days, and great golf is what we got. We enter Round 2 with a leaderboard rife with stars and superstars, fascinating rounds from several of the top players in the world and enough Bryson DeChambeau memes to fill up Twitter for the rest of the season.
Colonial Country Club laid down from the very start as the scoring average in Round 1 dipped into the 60s and never let up through the end. Justin Rose took advantage early, and Harold Varner III did the same late. Both shot 63 and share the lead by one over Jhonattan Vegas and Abraham Ancer.
They were far from the only big names to show out after the long break, though, as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau all made appearances on the leaderboard at certain points throughout. Let's take a look at the top of the leaderboard and recap what was a really fun first day back on the PGA Tour.
Round 1 leaderboard breakdown
T1. Justin Rose, Harovld Varner III (-7): Both hit it beautifully. Varner didn't miss a green in regulation, and Rose's swing -- which he clearly grinded on during quarantine -- looked absolutely silky. The numbers back it up, too, as Rose gained over three strokes from tee to green. A big day for both players, but Rose -- a defending champion here -- has the most staying power looking toward the rest of the week.
T3. Justin Thomas (-6): No surprises here. The only eyebrow-raiser is how he put the round together. Thomas led the field in strokes gained putting, which is great but possibly unsustainable. As the week goes on, I suspect his ball-striking will improve and maybe the most well-rounded player in the world will make a run at PGA Tour victory No. 13.
T3. Collin Morikawa (-6): I'm not saying coming on the First Cut podcast means you're going to get a bump on the PGA Tour in your first start back, but I'm not not saying that either. Morikawa is one of the 25 best players in the world right now and maybe the best iron player alive (No. 1 on Thursday in strokes gained on approach shots). It's time for everybody to be introduced.
T3. Jhonattan Vegas, Abraham Ancer (-6): Two nice players who have had solid careers and played terrific golf early on Thursday. Ancer continued his post-Presidents Cup mini-heater, which has included three top-15 finishes and this early number at Colonial. It would be awesome to see him get win No. 1 here.
T7. Bryson DeChambeau (-5): Oh baby, where do we begin? DeChambeau, who looks like he ate Brian Harman during quarantine, hit six drives of 320 yards or more on Thursday (and he said he was holding back!). We can (and will) giggle about how much weight he's gained, but finishing first in strokes gained off the tee is indicative of his overall strategy. If you follow the PGA Tour closely, you know being the best driver (or at least among the best drivers) is the quickest route to immense success.
T7. Jordan Spieth (-5): Oh baby, where do we begin? I believe, help my unbelief. Spieth was top 25 in both strokes gained off the tee and approach shots, which for him is like being the best in the field right now. And all of that after blowing one off the planet on the first hole. I'm not going to freak out or anything, but get back to me when he shoots 65 on Friday.
T7. Tom Lehman (-5): I would have lost money if you would have given me a best ball of Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler against Lehman straight up on Thursday. A lot of money. Lehman -- the 1995 champion here -- is 61 years old (!), and he roasted a lot of guys less than half his age.
T39. Rory McIlroy (-2): I did not envision McIlroy making par at his last nine holes on Thursday in Round 1. McIlroy drove it great but got nothing out of his approach shots. Zero concerns based on the way the last two years have gone.
T94. Dustin Johnson (+1): I actually do have concerns when it comes to D.J. The golf has not been great for over a year now, and he was lackluster (to be generous) on Thursday. Off the tee, with his irons, pretty much every part of his game looked rustier than he would like.
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Round 1 takeaways
- It's difficult to overstate how gargantuan DeChambeau looks or how significant the shift has been from when he joined the PGA Tour. He looked like Billy Horschel when he first turned pro, and now he looks like the tight end for a 3A football team in East Texas. He might be my new favorite player in the world.
- Fowler being mic'd up for the entire round was far better than I thought it would be. As many have pointed out, you don't have to say interesting things -- which Fowler doesn't -- to be interesting during a round. We simply want more access to what players are thinking while they're playing and thinking through a round.
- Swings that looked like butter today: Rose, Thomas and Gary Woodland, who has lost about as much weight as Bryson has gained, and his swing looked even more languid than usual.
- It feels like there's a 61 or 62 out there this week. The fun thing about this field is that you're going to have to take it mega-deep to run away from guys like Koepka and McIlroy, who are 2 under. Great fields push players to even better golf, and that's what I expect over the next three rounds.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, updates and highlights from Round 1 of the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge below. Check out the scores at the top of this story or a more detailed leaderboard.
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Justin Thomas is coming around the final turn in a hurry. He's 6 under, one back and has a chance to tie the lead on the 18th hole coming up. Collin Morikawa also had a chance to tie the lead on his last hole (the ninth) this afternoon but he lipped out a birdie putt. Still, 64 at Colonial to re-enter the golf world is mighty dirty.
Spieth's back nine run continues. Pours one in from 15+ feet to get to 4-under through 15. Falls in line with how he's fared at Colonial in the past as he charges up the leaderboard.
HAROLD VARNER! Birdies the 18th to get to 7-under. He now co-leads the event with Justin Rose.
Rickie is talking seriously about his last shot with his caddie but all I see is a giant mustache and I can't help but cackle. It may just be jealousy. That's a pretty impressive stache.
Rory putting together a solid round, but he's been quiet on the back after a 2-under front nine. Even through his first four on the back.
Jordan Spieth watch is officially a thing right now. Was even through the front nine but 3-under through his first four on the back.
Fun finish coming up here that may affect the leaderboard. Harold Varner III is 2-under on the back nine and sits at 6-under on the day with three holes left.
Justin Thomas got real lucky he didn't splash on the par-3 13th. Now it looks like he'll save par. Sitting at 4-under -- three strokes off the lead.
The scoring in the afternoon wave hasn't been as electric as I would have thought. The stars and superstars aren't playing particularly poorly, but nobody is going mega-low yet either. Will be interesting to see if Rory, Brooks or Justin Thomas can go 30 or 31 on the back nine.
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