David J. Phillip/Associated Press
When the Charles Schwab Challenge began Thursday, many were excited to watch the group featuring Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka, the top three golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings.
After three months without a PGA Tour event because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was an exciting setup for a return to golf.
None of the three fared great in Thursday’s opening round at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, but McIlroy showed up in a big way Friday. The top-ranked golfer shot a 63 in the second round, the best in the field, to improve to nine-under par overall, tied for fourth and only two strokes behind leader Harold Varner III.
Rahm didn’t have as much success, shooting a 71 in the second round and missing the cut, which was at two-under par. But Koepka is still in the field after shooting a 68 in each of the first two rounds and is sitting at four-under par.
Here’s everything you need to know heading into Saturday’s third round.
Charles Schwab Challenge 2020 Information
Remaining TV and Live-Stream Schedule: Saturday and Sunday (CBS and CBS Sports app, 3 p.m. ET)
Tee Times: A complete list of tee times for Saturday’s third round can be found at PGATour.com.
Top Odds to Win
Rory McIlroy ( 350; bet $100 to win $350)
Bryson DeChambeau ( 400)
Jordan Spieth ( 550)
Justin Thomas ( 900)
Collin Morikawa ( 900)
Xander Schauffele ( 1000)
Harold Varner III ( 1200)
Justin Rose ( 1400)
Gary Woodland ( 1800)
Daniel Berger ( 2200)
Branden Grace ( 3500)
Corey Conners ( 4500)
Abraham Ancer ( 4500)
Joel Dahmen ( 5000)
Sungjae Im ( 6000)
Brooks Koepka ( 7500)
Bubba Watson ( 7500)
Brian Harman ( 7500)
Complete list of odds available at Caesars Palace
Some notable names didn’t make the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge, a group that included No. 2-ranked Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. But there’s still plenty of star power in the field for this weekend, including top-ranked Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy got off to a bit of a slow start, shooting a 68 in Thursday’s opening round. But he powered his way up the leaderboard Friday, leading all golfers with a seven-under 63 in the second round. It was an impressive showing that featured an eagle on the par-5 first hole, six birdies and only one bogey.
This is the first time that McIlroy has competed in this tournament, and he’s put himself in position to contend for the win this weekend. But he’ll have some fierce competition, as he noted that the top of the leaderboard entering Saturday’s third round is a “who’s-who of golf right now.”
“Watching from afar, this is a golf course that’s always let the best players rise to the top,” McIlroy said, according to Mike McAllister of PGATour.com. “You have to be in complete control of your game, hit fairways, hit greens, convert some putts.”
Harold Varner III is in the lead at 11-under par, but Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau are one stroke behind at 10-under. Spieth and DeChambeau each shot a 65 in both the first and second rounds.
McIlroy is tied with Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele at nine-under, while five golfers are at eight-under. The latter group includes Justin Rose, who was tied for the lead after the opening round but shot a one-under 69 on Friday.
It’s no surprise that Spieth is among the leaders entering the weekend. While some top golfers don’t normally participate in this tournament, this is the eighth straight year that the 26-year-old has been in the field at Colonial. He won the event in 2016 and also owns a pair of second-place finishes.
Perhaps that experience will bode well for Spieth in the third and fourth rounds, when there could be a slight change in the weather that affects the field.
“I think the weekend is going to change a bit,” Spieth said, according to McAllister. “I think it’s moving more towards the south where it’s supposed to be. But I would say if anything I think it’s played a stroke or two easier in my opinion just off of the wind direction and the lack of wind that we’ve had.”
While McIlroy and Spieth are two of the bigger names among the leaders, anything could happen over the final two rounds, especially with so many golfers within several strokes of the lead. And after three months without golf, the first tournament back could provide an exciting finish.
One potential sleeper to watch out for is Corey Conners, who shot a 66 on Thursday and a 67 on Friday to sit tied for 12th at seven-under par. The 28-year-old tied for eighth at this tournament in 2018, and while he’s been a bit inconsistent this season, he’s had some solid showings, such as a 12th-place finish at the Sony Open in January.
If Conners puts together an even better round Saturday, he could give the other leaders a tough battle on Sunday.