Days removed from the season's first major, players found a more relaxed atmosphere during the opening round of the RBC Heritage. While swirling winds made scoring difficult, a pair of recognizable players share the lead with the world No. 1 lurking just off the pace:
Leaderboard: Luke Donald (-5), Branden Grace (-5), Jason Day (-4), Matt Kuchar (-4), Tony Finau (-4), David Lingmerth (-4)
What it means: Donald is a perennial contender around these parts, and he set the early pace with a 66 in the morning wave. He was caught first by Grace and then by Day, but the Aussie bogeyed his final hole after taking an unplayable lie, leaving only two players tied at the top after the opening round while Day and Kuchar, a former champ, remain very much in the mix.
Round of the day: Donald compiled five finishes of T-3 or better at this event from 2010-2014, and he was T-15 here a year ago. His affinity for Harbour Town continued Thursday with a round that included six birdies against just one bogey. The Englishman relied on some accurate approaches during the first round, as four of his six birdies came from 6 feet and in.
Best of the rest: Grace's burly game might not seem like a good fit for Harbour Town, but his short game was on point last year en route to a T-7 finish and it again was on display during an opening 66. The South African found only 10 greens in regulation but got up-and-down seven times, giving him a share of the lead as he seeks his first PGA Tour title.
Biggest disappointment: Paul Casey has finished T-22 or better in each of his three prior trips to Hilton Head, and he cracked the top 10 last week at the Masters. But the Englishman couldn't get anything going during his opening round, carding only a single birdie. Casey made a double bogey on the par-5 15th and bogeyed three of his final five holes for a 4-over 75.
Main storyline heading into Friday: This leaderboard has already produced an eclectic mix: horses for courses like Donald and Kuchar, alongside bombers like Grace, Day and Finau. It'll be interesting to see who will be able to emerge amid what are expected to be difficult conditions, but the player to watch will be Day, who finished T-10 at Augusta National after winning two straight starts and is once again firmly in contention.
Shot of the day: Finau became the first player since 2003 to drive the green at the 332-yard, par-4 ninth hole, uncorking a drive that went 329 yards before settling less than 4 feet from the hole to set up an easy eagle.
Quote of the day: "It was a tough break. Little bit unlucky, but I shouldn’t have been in that bunker in the first place." - Day, whose ball plugged in the face of the bunker on No. 18 leading to his only bogey of the day.