2022 PNC Championship leaderboard: Tiger, Charlie Woods on the hunt as Team Thomas leads after Round 1

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

Playing in the two-person scramble format, Team Thomas was featured in the final pairing of the day alongside Tiger and Charlie Woods. The two close families battled back-and-forth for the majority of the day before an eagle from the putter of Justin on the par-5 14th propelled Team Thomas into a share of the lead with Team Singh, who was already in the clubhouse.

Additional birdies on two of their final four holes gave Team Thomas a meaningful edge heading into tomorrow's final round. Carding 11 birdies, two eagles and only five pars, Justin and Mike are in prime position to capture their second PNC Championship title in the last three years.

The leader

1. Team Thomas (-15)

Justin has looked great the past month, finishing the Hero World Challenge on a high note and dominating in The Match 7. He continued this quality play on Saturday, and with some timely help from his father, the two were able to get to 15 under -- good for the second-lowest round in tournament history. Hitting off-speed wedges, booming drives and precise putts, the two will be a difficult duo to chase down on Sunday.

"We are out here just to have fun and play golf," said Thomas. "The course is obviously very right in front of you, big fairways, big greens and I really, really enjoy putting when I can see a putt before me and it helps me quite a bit. Poor dad is unfortunately the guinea pig on every single hole, but sometimes when I give him a good read, he knocks it in."

Other contenders

T2. Team Singh, Team Woods (-13)

4. Team Langer (-12)

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

Team Woods came into the week on the minds of most, and showed guts and gumption on Saturday. With Tiger playing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and Charlie dealing with a lingering left ankle injury, despite not feeling 100%, they remained within arm's reach of Team Thomas. Nearly chasing down Team Daly in last year's final round, and at one point carding 11 straight birdies that fateful day, something similar will have to be in store if they are to catch their good buddies with whom they will play alongside for the second straight day.

"This is what I see at home all the time, I'm used to it," said Tiger of Charlie's game. "Unfortunately, this is not the game plan that we had originally planned out. His ankle is not exactly feeling the best so I've had to hit a couple more drives than I normally would. Obviously, it was a great day. We got on a little bit of a heater there in the early-middle part of the round, didn't take advantage of it towards the end, but we are in a great position for tomorrow."

So how did Tiger and Charlie look?

Dating back to last year, the two have now signed for consecutive sub-60 rounds in this format. At the very beginning of the day, it did not look as if it would go as good as it ultimately did as Team Woods found themselves just 1 under through the first three holes. Kick-started by a nifty wedge shot from Charlie, Tiger then took the wheel when he discovered some magic both on and around the green.

Highlighted by a chip-in eagle on the par-5 5th, Team Woods caught fire heading into the inward half as they played holes Nos. 4 through 11 in a 9-under fashion. Some hairy situations arose as Tiger was summoned to hole clutch par putts one too many times in the latter stages of their round. And while only three birdies over the course of the final seven holes will leave the two itching for more, they remain in the thick of this championship and only two strokes behind Team Thomas.

Spieth Magic runs in the family

When you think of law-defining golf shots, Jordan Spieth immediately comes to mind, but it was clear on Saturday that he is not the only member of the Spieth family to have the magic touch. Playing alongside his father, Shawn, Team Spieth shot 11-under 61 thanks in part to a couple of jaw-dropping moments around the green from the pair.

Youngest competitor in event history steals the show

Playing alongside his mother, Annika Sorenstam, 11-year-old Will McGee stole the show on Saturday. Walking in putts and hitting delicate wedge shots, McGee quickly became a fan favorite of those who came out to see the action and helped his hall of fame mother en route to a 10-under 62.

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@PGATOUR via Twitter
December 17, 2022, 11:36 PM

Team Thomas looks to have grasp on overnight lead

Letting a chance slide by one the 17th, Team Thomas holds a one-stroke lead heading into the par-5 18th. With a birdie likely, it appears Team Thomas will head into tomorrow with a two-stroke lead. Team Woods is currently two behind the Thomases and may be in the final group with them if able to produce some magic.


Team Thomas grabs the solo lead

Justin has been terrific through 15 holes and Mike hasn't been half shabby himself. The two have reached 14 under after going 5 under in their last four holes. With just three pars on the scorecard, the 2020 winners are in a nice position to enter the winner's circle once again.

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December 17, 2022, 9:07 PM
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December 17, 2022, 9:00 PM
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