Aug 23rd, 2019
Fedex Cup Tour Championship latest
Staggered start unwinds on first day
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
There was lots of concern that the new format of the Tour Championship was going to result in the FedEx Cup leader running away with things and there being a lack of drama at East Lake Golf Club over the last big weekend for the PGA Tour. Well things didn’t really work out like that as Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka all start day two tied on 10 under with Rory just one behind.
The key question for all was whether the end of season bash in Atlanta was going to result in a procession given the changes to the format. The leader after the BMW Championship at Medinah, one Justin Thomas started on 10 under and potentially could just run away from the cream of the PGA Tour and snare the $15 million (£12ish million) first prize.
Well things couldn’t have been more different as we go into the second day!
Thomas squandered his opening tee lead by shooting a level par 70 to open his account. To say he had a pretty poor day in the office is putting it mildly. The 26 year-old American hit only half his fairways and had the dubious honour of being the only player on day one to hit the water at the par three 15th. He recovered to level par despite that double bogey but will look to block out the day and start again.
Joining Thomas at the top of the leaderboard is world number one Brooks Koepke who felt he was in “full panic mode” as he made the turn and hit his tee shot about 75 yards right of the fairway at the 10th. According to Koepke he “felt like the train was off the tracks there on 9 and 10”. So he was pretty happy to sign for a 3 under 67 which included three birdies in the final four holes to take a share of the lead.
Round of the day went to Xander Schauffele who produced a bogey free six under 64 as he barged his way into the overnight joint lead. Schauffele seems to like East Lake and praised its “California Vibe” which was a bit strange given the course’s location. Either way he is well positioned and has continued his strong performance in 2019 where he has had two top three’s in majors.
Rory McIlroy started the day five shots off the lead but, despite having raised concerns with the scoring system, must be happy now as he shot a solid four under 66 to sit just one back from the leaders courtesy of a three under back nine. Mcilroy will be rue a chance to join the lead as he missed a very makeable birdie putt on 18.
England’s Paul Casey also made a solid move on day one. Starting way back on two under his four under 66 leaves him in 8th position and in touch with the leaders whereas Justin Rose’s two under leaves him tied for 13th needing something special on day two to keep in contention.
So, after all the tinkering to the event and worries about whether the event will be a procession, at the start of play on Thursday morning there were just five players within five shots of the lead. As we start Friday there are now 12 within five of the lead and it looks a lot more interesting.
For the final leaderboard click HERE.
And another thing...