The world’s leading two golf players Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are already battling it out for the top spot and were tied on top of the leaderboard at 13-under par after the first round of the season-ending PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta on Friday.
Jon Rahm reeled in FedExCup leader Dustin Johnson as Rory McIlroy made a superb start to the Tour Championship in Atlanta. As top seed in the points standings, Johnson started at 10-under par with a two-shot lead thanks to the staggered scoring system.
He mixed five birdies with two bogeys to pen down a score of a three-under 67 at East Lake. Johnson’s four-and-a-half foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th would have given him the outright lead but the ball lipped out and he was forced to settle for par.
“My game is in good shape,” Johnson said. “Got a lot of confidence in it and swinging well. So yeah, I’m looking forward to the rest of the week”. The long-hitting American is competing in the Tour Championship for a 12th consecutive season, the longest active streak on the PGA Tour.
The game is definitely on
Johnson was runner-up to Spaniard Jon Rahm last weekend after winning the playoff opener the previous week. The two were paired together. Jon Rahm nearly holed out from the bunker on 18 but his ball also found the lip of the cup and he was forced to settle for par to cap a round of five-under 65.
Former FedExCup champion Justin Thomas, who started in third place three shots back, got up and down for birdie on 18 to shoot a four-under 66, two shots off the lead at 11 under. New father Rory McIlroy, who started the day in 12th at three under, got off to a fantastic start with a six-under 64 that included three consecutive birdies at the end.
He is defending his title. The world No 4, who admitted he was "emotionally drained" after making the short flight from his home in Florida, made a great start to life as a new dad when he birdied the opening hole, and he added two more at the fourth and sixth but bogeyed the third and eighth to be only one under at the turn.
“I was coming in here with no expectations,” said Northern Irishman McIlroy, who welcomed a baby girl on Monday. “I didn’t touch a club for four days in between tournaments. Coming in here golf was the furthest thing from my mind and sometimes that’s a good thing.
You get to decompress and get away from it”. The winner from this week’s elite 30-player Tour Championship field will be crowned FedExCup champion and take home $15 million.