Some of golf’s biggest stars faltered on day one of the 2023 PGA Championship. Can Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, and others turn things around on day two?
The year’s second major, the 105th PGA Championship at Oak Hill, is well and truly underway and while the first round of this year’s championship will likely carry over into Friday morning, some of the game’s biggest stars will have a great idea about what they will need to achieve in order to be around for the weekend.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on day one of this year’s PGA Championship was the performance of the world’s top-ranked player and last month’s Masters Champion; Jon Rahm.
A Thursday-76 leaves the Spaniard with plenty left to be done just to be around for the weekend. Rahm will look to avoid following in the footsteps of last year’s Masters winner Scottie Scheffler, who missed the cut in his next major appearance and Southern Hills last May.
It was an unpleasant opening day for several other surprise names as well. Last year’s U.S. Open winner, Matt Fitzpatrick, has made the cut in each of his last four starts coming into 2023’s second major championship. The Englishman is not too far removed from a win over Jordan Spieth at this year’s RBC Heritage a few weeks ago.
Fitzpatrick matched Rahm’s opening-76 and will need a solid round on Friday to make it five cuts from five. Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae Im, Patrick Cantlay, and last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson winner, Jason Day, make up just a handful of big names who could be in danger of missing this week’s cut.
Oak Hill shows its teeth.
Oak Hill was expected to be a difficult test of championship golf coming into the week, and boy did it deliver on Thursday.
According to Data Golf, the fine host of the 2023 PGA Championship played an average of +3.62 strokes over par on day one. Only 18 of 156 players, of those who had already finished their first round, shot even par or better on the championship layout.
Last year’s PGA Champion, Justin Thomas, and others including Rory McIlroy, who flipped his opening round right on its head on his second nine, currently look as though they will be around for the weekend. But exactly what will the cutline be? Let’s have a look.
2023 PGA Championship: Projecting Friday’s Cutline
With continuing challenging conditions anticipated at this year’s PGA Championship, we can expect a probable high cut mark. This gives players who struggled on Thursday a glimmer of hope as they look to make the weekend at Oak Hill.
Data Golf currently has the projected cut at +5 (37.6%), only marginally ahead of +6 (36.1%), with a mark of +4 currently only being given about a 13% chance.
It’s a real coin flip as to what exactly the final number will land on as the top 70 and ties will progress to the weekend.
As it stands, a +5 cut would see players such as Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jason Day, and Tyrrell Hatton all marginally miss out.
Francesco Molinari, Talor Gooch, and Patrick Cantlay would make the cut as things stand.
However, the margins are narrow and there is little room for error on day two of the 2023 PGA Championship.
Whatever the final number ends up being; we are set up for an exciting Friday at Oak Hills.