By Keith Jackson
Day one of the Tour Championship in Atlanta featured a number of beautiful pictures of likes of Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, as well as a ace by Harris English.
Patrick Cantlay kept his two-shot lead while Jon Rahm emerged as his biggest threat for the FedExCup title in the first round of the Tour Championship.
Cantlay arrived at East Lake in Atlanta as leader in the FedExCup standings after his dramatic playoff win over Bryson DeChambeau at the BMW Championship last week, and started the season finale on 10 under par – two ahead of Tony Finau.
But while Finau lost ground on the leader after a 72, Cantlay consolidated his lead with a solid 67 die loved him on Class for a $15 million payday on Sunday, although Rahm made an ominous early move with a 65 – the low one round on day one.
Harris English lit up the tournament with a beautiful holein-one on the 224-yard 15th and added birdies at 16 and 17 as he jumped to eight under, five behind the leader, alongside Bryson DeChambeau, with Viktor Hovland, Justin Thomas and Cameron Smith another shot behind.
Cantlay was wary of stray from being game plan while resisting the temptation to get overly-aggressive in an offer to be . to renew lead, and he was happy to be way careful around East Lake while still picking up four birdies, his only blemish comes after a quirky one drive at the fifth.
“What goals do I really have? for this week are process-oriented and very present,” Cantlay said, who’s win in Baltimore also are cemented place on the American Ryder Cup team for Whistling Straits later this month.
“I think his in the place where i am in, would it be easy to move forward of yourself and easy to stray from you maybe game plan because you feel like you are leading the way, and that is just not helpful.
Harris English lit up the Tour Championship with a 224-yard hole-in-one on the tough 15th at East Lake, and he birdied the next two holes to do battle.
“So I’m not going to do that. I’ll stay present and stay with my game plan and I’m going to take what the golf course gives me.”
Rahm started the final event of the shots from season four behind Cantlay, but he made good early entry when he threw in four birdie at the first and picked up further shots at the fourth and sixth, only to take two steps back with bogeys on seventh and eighth.
But the world No 1 got back on track with birdies on 12 and 13, and he chose up two more on the final two holes to Finau. to replace in second place, and Rahm echoed Cantlay’s comments in avoid being too distracted by the staggered score system.
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“It’s very easy to get caught up on how far back you start’ said Rahm, who has previously stated that he is not a fan of the score format for the Tour Championship, especially with $15 million on the line.
“I don’t think I’ll be there once over have thought out there. I was just to attempt post An score. My job is to hit the best I can shoot every time and that’s all I can control.
“So I can’t think of what the people forward of I’m doing. And I think that also applies to tomorrow. Could be on the weekend you’re thinking about who is leading, who isn’t it, but try to see it as a regular event and not how a lot of distance i have to make up. Of course, 72 holes, that’s a lot of holes and four shots isn’t that much.”
Rory McIlroy is amazing recovery of trees was excellent, but die by Viktor Hovland was even better as he drove a daring wedge from an awkward position for an unlikely eagle on the Tour Championship.
English was level par for to be round with only four holes to play, but he suddenly raced up the standings with his perfect five iron found the target on the 15th before making excellent approaches to the . converted next two holes, although he couldn’t take advantage of the par-five last.
DeChambeau dropped to two over par for to be round when he shot his tee to 15 in the water blocked, but it bounced back make every bird of the final three holes and get back within five shots of cantlay with his struggle 69.
Hovland 66 featured a stunning shot on the fifth where he made a hooked wedge from deep in the trees and was rewarded for his bravado with an eagle-two die an equally inventive shot from McIlroy in the fourth overshadowed.
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The two-time FedExCup champion was in an awkward position close to a tree on right, but he faded a fat second Which just cleared the front bunker and settled 10 inches from the hole, setting up the second of are five birdies in a 68 destroyed by three bogeys in four holes on the back nine.
“It Could Have Been Real” goodsaid McIlroy, who is nine shots behind cantlay on four under. “I was four under to met 10, missed one good possibility on 12, and then from there I just went on a little of a bogey run, bogeyed three of the next four so it was fun making a birdie last.
“But I’m going to the… range here and work there. not me drive the ball particularly good and when you do that I actually became best well lucky a few of stains die I hit the off line, I could make birdies out of a few of die, So just need to try to say it in play a little more tomorrow.”
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