Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
The first golfers out on course for the third round of the 2020 PGA Championship are trying to replicate the morning success Jason Day and Haotong Li had during the first 36 holes.
Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are among the competitors with early tee times after they barely survived the cut at one-over.
Li, Day and the other Wanamaker Trophy contenders will not tee off at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco until after 5 p.m. ET.
Li and Tommy Fleetwood are in the final pairing, while Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Daniel Berger and Day are among the notable names in the groups scheduled to start ahead of them.
PGA Championship Leaderboard
Haotong Li (-8)
Tommy Fleetwood (-6)
Jason Day (-6)
Daniel Berger (-6)
Brooks Koepka (-6)
Justin Rose (-6)
Mike Lorenzo-Vera (-6)
Cameron Champ (-5)
Paul Casey (-5)
Brendon Todd (-5)
Full leaderboard can be found on PGATour.com
The early wave of golfers on course need rounds similar to Li’s second-round 65, Fleetwood’s Friday 64 or Day’s opening-round 65 just to get back into contention.
The pairing of Spieth and Thomas has the potential to produce the best round of the first few hours at TPC Harding Park.
Spieth shot two under Friday, and his only bogey occurred on the 18th hole. Thomas had a more up-and-down second round, but he did start with two birdies in his first seven holes.
If the two previous major winners take advantage of the course early, they may finish with the low scores of the round and give themselves a fighting chance Sunday.
Patrick Cantlay is another name to consider to make a surge, as he used a two-under, bogey-free round Friday to make the cut.
The 28-year-old American earned two top-10 major finishes in 2019, and he benefited from a pair of rounds in the 60s to secure a tie for ninth at The Masters.
Plenty of eyes will also be on Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who had much different rounds Friday. Mickelson went one under to make the cut, while Woods dropped down to even par.
However, there is a chance any strong golf played in the early pairings will not make an impact at all on the leaderboard.
Three major champions are part of the tie for second, and there are six residing in the top 25.
If Day, Koepka, Berger and others play as well as they did for the first two rounds, the gap could grow between the serious contenders and those stuck at the back end of the standings.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from PGATour.com
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