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The third major championship of the season may be taking place next week at Pinehurst No. 2, but this week's Memorial Tournament has already produced a major-caliber leaderboard. Adam Hadwin leads the way after the first round of action thanks to a stellar 6-under 66, 🍰but right behind him are a numberౠ of big names hoping to usurp the Canadian over the next three days.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler looked the part Thursday en route to a 5-under 67. A birdie on his final hole pushed him past his playing competitor, Ludvig Åberg, who needed one more stroke than the American for his opening 68. Alongside Åberg at 4 under is the mꦺost recent major champion, Xander Schauffele, as the 2024 PGA Championship winner showed little sign of 🥃a hangover in his first start since his victory at Valhalla.

Collin Morikawa came in late with the same score as Åberg and Schauffele despite playing in the more difficult afternoon conditions and letting a few chances pass him by. Players like Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau, Max Homa, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas all find themselves in red f🍌igures and wit🍌hin shouting distance, with expectations of a more difficult Muirfield Village emerging for the remainder of the tournament.

"I was surprised with how firm it was when we first got here on Tuesday," Scheffler said. "The rain yesterday, I think, really softened it up. As long as the rain holds off the rest of the week with the winds we're supposed to get, the golf course is going to be really, really challenging. There are so many little areas where you have to put the ball, and when the greens get firm a༺nd the wind starts blowing, it can be extremely challenging to hit it into some of those small portions of th🍨e greens."

Little chance♛ of rain and more intense winds are in the forecast for the rest of the week in Dublin, Ohio, meaning Hadwin may very well be sitting close to the winning score after just 18 holes of play. With 7 under enough to earn a spot in a playoff a season ago, players are sure to have their hands full with not only each other, but with the golf course itself from here on out.

The leader

1. Adam Hadwin (-6)

Hadwin had a day from tee to green we typically see from someone like Scheffler. The Canadiꩵan gained nearly seven strokes on the field with his long game, with +5.52 of those strokes coming from his iron play. While Hadwin hit 14 of 18 greens in r꧒egulation, he struck half of those approach shots inside 10 feet. Whether he can keep this up is another question, but it remains a nice start for the smooth swinging right-hander.

"It's only Thursday, a lot of golf left," Hadwin said. "Like I said, I played a really solid round of golf today. I was in play off the tee, I hit a bunch of greens, I had some good looks, and then kind of it got going on the back nine. I hit a few wedges close. I took advantage of maybe a little bit softer Muirfield Village with the rain overnight and we've got three more rounds to go, and I've been torn apart by this place before, so I know how quickly it ෴can sneak up on you. So just keep doing what I did really well today."

Other contenders

2. Scottie Scheffler (-5)
T3. Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Ludvig Åberg, Corey Conners (-4)
T7. Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood, Akshay Bhatia, Seamus Power (-3)

While Sc❀heffler was his usual self, ranking third in strokes gained tee to green, fifth in strokes gained off the tee and second in strokes gained approach, Schauffele struggled with the long game. Leading the field in strokes gained putting and just about average everywhere else, the PGA Championship winner wi🌠ll need to get better if he is to keep his place on this leaderboard.

"I'm going to go to the range after this, after we finish talking, and hit the center of the club face a little more, find some more fairway🍰s and some more greens," Schauffele said. "I'm happy. I'm happy with how I played, with how I stuck in there and really happy my short game bailed me out on a day that could have been a lot worse."

The man of maybe most intrigue is Morikawa as h🐲e continues this upward trajectory with his game ever since the Masters. Rattling off five straight top 20s in individual events — including a pair of top fives in major championships — the 27-year-old is at agaiಌn. His short game was sharp — as it has been — and his iron play started to look like the iron play that led Morikawa to a couple of major titles.

Struggling stars

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for the top names in the sport. Some of them will have their work cut out for them if they plan to stick around for the weekend. With the field shrinking to the top 50 and tho�🐈�se within 10 strokes of the leader after Round 2, some notables find themselves in jeopardy of experiencing a short trip to Ohio:

  • Jordan Spieth: +2
  • Will Zalatoris: +2
  • Patrick Cantlay: +3
  • Cameron Young: +4
  • Rickie Fowler: +4
  • Brian Harman: +4
  • Wyndham Clark: +5

2024 Memorial Tournament updated odds and picks

  • Scottie Scheffler: 7/4
  • Collin Morikawa: 7-1
  • Xander Schauffele: 7-1
  • Ludvig Åberg: 7-1
  • Viktor Hovland: 10-1
  • Rory McIlroy: 12-1
  • Tommy Fleetwood: 20-1

Choose your fighter. I loved Morikawa c﷽oming into the week, and there's nothing he did on Thursday to sway me of this opinion. I understand some hesitation jumping in at 7-1 with 54 holes to play, however. If you're in search of some value names, Thomas at 40-1, Homa at 75-1 and Finau at 80-1 are all at 1 under and present some interest as they will experience the easier Friday morning playing conditions and could make a move.