With Round 1 of the 2021 PGA Championship behind us, one thing that is increasingly clear about Kiawah Island is it’s not for the faint of heart. The Ocean Course swallowed up some of the sport’s best in the opening round of action. Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy — the betting favorites entering the day — were among them. Canadian Corey Conners was decidedly not.
Conners posted an opening-round 5-under 67 to pace the field by two strokes. He leads a loaded T2 perch on the leaderboard that features six different men at 3 under. Then there’s a cadre of contenders lurking at T8, where at 2 under even more star power abounds. Reigning champion Collin Morikawa sits here ready to pounce after an opening-round 70. So, too, does 2005 PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson.
As for the rest of the leaderboard, here’s a rundown from the first day of action at Kiawah Island.
1. Corey Conners (-5): A strong start to the day for Conners never really trailed off. He opened with three birdies through seven and overcame a bogey on No. 9 by turning in a clean back nine featuring birdies on 11, 15 and 16 without any bogeys. He was remarkable tee to green and cleaned up nicely with the putter to boot. Conners’ best-career finish at a major came earlier this spring with a T8 at the Masters, and he showed Thursday