Lunch was going to taste particularly good to Rickie Fowler.
Out early and having finished off an opening round of 5-under-par 65 that put him comfortably in the lead of the PGA Championship, Fowler could see the breeze beginning to ripple the flags at Bellerive Country Club.
The greens, relatively smooth in the morning, were getting slower and more tracked up with each passing hour.
There seemed every reason to believe that Fowler, still trying to win his first major, would sleep on his advantage.
Then Gary Woodland, who started his work day five hours after Fowler, used his muscular game and a phenomenal putting day to overcome any disadvantages the afternoon presented.
After Woodland nearly reached the 597-yard, par-5 17th hole in two shots, he made an easy birdie to be the only player to get to 6 under on the day. The 34-year-old Kansas native came up inches short with a putt on 18 that would have given him an eighth birdie over the last 12 holes, and he finished with a 64 to be the sole leader.
The score – one stroke off the PGA and major championship record of 63 – was the best in the expected river of red numbers on the Bellerive layout that is vulnerable because of damp fairways and fragile greens that have been intentionally made to run slower.
Forty-seven players shot under par. Behind Fowler, former Masters champion Zach Johnson and South African Brandon Stone each shot 4-under 66, and there were 11 golfers tied with 67s, including world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and fellow major winners Justin Rose, Jason Day and Stewart Cink.
Tiger Woods, playing in his first PGA since 2015 and coming off a tie for sixth in the British Open, was 3 over after two holes but scrambled back to shoot even-par 70.
The leaderboard was peppered with golf styles of all sorts – from bombers such as Woodland and Dustin Johnson to sharp ball strikers like Fowler and Rose.
Woodland, a three-time PGA Tour winner who doesn't have a top-10 finish in a major, happened to put everything together in one of the finest rounds of his career. It was made all the sweeter by the dozens of family members and friends who cheered him from the gallery.
Woodland grew up in Topeka, Kan., about 4 1/2 hours west of St. Louis, and played at the University of Kansas – the bitter rival of Missouri. His attire Thursday was something everyone could get behind – a red, white and blue shirt with the word "America" striped down the back.
"It's as close as I've ever played to home, which is awesome," Woodland said. "I have a million friends and family out here, which is really cool.
"We're kind of in enemy territory down here in Missouri; we're big Kansas people. But the fans were nice to me today as well, and I really fed off of the energy."
For a player who currently ranks sixth on the PGA Tour in driving distance, but 99th in strokes gained putting, Woodland was a wizard on the greens in the opening round. He made 152 feet worth of putts – the most in his 10-year PGA Tour career. The longest came from 44 feet at No. 11.
Woodland credited the recent lessons he got from instructor Phil Kenyon, whom he sought out in desperation after he loved his ball striking and hated his putting at the British Open.
"I was hitting it good and getting nothing out of it," Woodland said.
He ended up switching to a thicker grip in practice this week that helps him release the putter better.
"It's nice to see the results," said Woodland, who won early this year at Phoenix. "You work so hard and you want to see results to back up the work that you've done. Today was just a step in the right direction."
Though there is a mix of players closely chasing him, Woodland asserted that the soft Bellerive course is playing at an advantage for a bruising hitter.
"I can hit a lot of drivers, be aggressive, and attack from the fairway," he said.
Fowler, 29, is far better known for his precise iron play and smooth putting stroke. He combined those beautifully in the first round, hitting 16 of the 18 greens – an extraordinary accomplishment in a major.
The Murrieta native hit the ball far closer to the hole than Woodland, needing only 66 feet on his putts.
Fowler spoke of sticking to a game plan to not try to overpower the long, wet golf course.
"I've always been a good mid-iron and long-iron player," Fowler said. "So get me in the fairway, and with the soft greens I feel like we can pick apart the golf course, as long as we continue to play smart and stay within ourselves."
Fowler, of course, faces more pressure than some other players in the field. He hasn't won a major in 34 tries. His best PGA finish is a tie for third, and he has runner-ups in the other three majors, including a second-place finish in this year's Masters.
He mostly deflects questions in regard to building expectations.
"You can't force the issue," he said.
Fowler fared better than two of his closest friends with their own slice of history on the line.
Justin Thomas, who is trying to become only the second player in PGA stroke-play history to win the tournament back-to-back, played well early in getting to 3 under, but suffered some lapses on the back nine and shot 69.
Looking to complete the career Grand Slam, Jordan Spieth double bogeyed the first hole and looked generally disgruntled in settling for a 71.