Thomas, Koepka and Schauffele tied for Tour Championship lead

By Sports Desk August 22, 2019

Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka are in a three-way tie with Xander Schauffele for the Tour Championship lead after the opening round.

The trio ended Thursday level at 10 under in the FedEx Cup decider, despite 2017 winner Schauffele producing the best round of the day via a six-under-par 64.

BMW Championship winner Thomas entered the tournament with a two-stroke advantage after the format change for the season-ending event at East Lake.

Instead of a points reset for the Tour Championship, players started on different scores – with Thomas top of the leaderboard prior to round one.

Schauffele was six shots adrift when play got underway but the American's bogey-free round, which included six birdies, and coupled with Thomas' even-par 70 saw him earn a share of the one-stroke lead.

It was a low-key start from Thomas, who is eyeing his second FedEx Cup title after claiming the trophy in 2017.

Afforded a head start thanks to his BMW Championship triumph, Thomas endured a mediocre opening in Atlanta, where a double-bogey and a pair of bogeys to go with four birdies saw his advantage evaporate.

Four-time major champion Koepka used a three-under-par 67 to catapult himself into a share of the first-round lead on Thursday.

Koepka, who was three shots behind Thomas at the start of the day, had five birdies and two birdies in a relatively steady opening to his campaign.

The American star finished with a flurry, birdieing three of his final four holes to join Schauffele and Thomas atop the standings.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy is a shot off the pace heading into the second round thanks to his 66.

The 2016 FedEx Cup champion only dropped one shot, recording five birdies to be in solo possession of fourth spot, ahead of Matt Kuchar (66) and Patrick Cantlay (70).

It was a difficult day for Dustin Johnson, who struggled to a three-over-par 73 to be even par and tied for 23rd in the 30-man field at the end of the first round.

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    The American produced a fine finish at Club de Golf Chapultepec, birdieing four of his remaining seven holes on his way to a four-under 67 in the final round.

    Reed finished at 18 under, a shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau, who carded a six-under 65.

    It marked Reed's eighth PGA Tour win and first of 2020, and second World Golf Championships success, with the other coming in 2014 when this event was called the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

    Reed made three straight birdies from holes 15 to 17 to grab control, closing out victory despite a bogey at the par-four 18th.

    "It's very rewarding," he told NBC.

    "My team and I we've worked so hard through the end of last year and also the beginning of this year and we kept on feeling like we were playing some good golf, just we weren't quite able to get over that hump.

    "To come back and win my second World Golf Championship, especially with how I had to finish basically 15 onwards. The last hole was ugly but it was what I needed just to get the job done and at the end of the day just putting yourself in these positions on Sunday is just unbelievable, it's a great feeling.

    "I can't wait to go home and celebrate with the little ones and my wife and bring them home a trophy."

    Spaniard Jon Rahm (67) and South African Erik van Rooyen (70) finished tied for third at 15 under.

    World number one Rory McIlroy could only manage a closing three-under 68 to end up fifth a further shot back.

    Overnight leader Justin Thomas struggled to a two-over 73 that saw him finish tied for sixth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (67) and Tyrrell Hatton (68).

    Thomas made three bogeys on his front nine before adding a double-bogey at the par-four 10th and dropping another shot at 13.

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    After scores of 67 and 66 over the previous two days, Thomas continued going in the right direction by signing for a 65 on Saturday, moving him to 15 under par.

    The American started and finished his work with bogeys, yet in between had eight birdies to put himself clear at the top of a high-class leaderboard and in pole position for his third title of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

    Erik van Rooyen and Patrick Reed head the chasing pack after both signed for 67s at the Club de Golf Chapultepec.

    Van Rooyen had moved into contention at the halfway stage with a 62 that tied the course record – but Rahm went one better to climb to 11 under.

    The Spaniard made a brilliant start with birdies at six of his first seven holes and following three more after the turn, he produced a stunning hole-in-one at the par-three 17th, his tee shot dropping into the cup on the second bounce.

    "With the start I had today, the only thing in mind was trying to get as close as possible to the leaders," Rahm – whose solitary blemish during a spectacular day came at the eighth – said after the lowest score of his professional career.

    "If I had a good finish, I was going to have a chance tomorrow, and that's kind of what gave me a second wind on the back nine."

    Rahm is tied for fourth alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy (68) and halfway leader Bryson DeChambeau, who followed up Friday's 63 with a 71 that included a double-bogey seven after finding water at the sixth.

    Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey are a further shot back on 10 under.

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    Bryson DeChambeau birdied his way to a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the WGC-Mexico Championship on Friday.

    DeChambeau produced a putting masterclass to move top of the leaderboard after two rounds with an eight-under-par 63.

    The American golfer had seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch as he lit up Club de Golf Chapultepec.

    DeChambeau finished with nine birdies and just one bogey to be 11 under and clear of countryman Patrick Reed (63) and South African Erik van Rooyen (62).

    "It was a lot of fun," DeChambeau said. "Surely when you have days like that you can't help but smile out there, and making those putts the way I did, striking the ball the way I did, it's surely a joy out there.

    "The confidence has got to be high. It is high, and it's a lot of fun to see putts finally going in. I'm going to go out and do my work like I normally do, go putt a little bit, hit some balls, but overall everything is going pretty well. I’m firing on all cylinders."

    Birthday boy Van Rooyen, 30, tied the course record with his sizzling and flawless second round, which included nine birdies.

    Justin Thomas (66) dropped two positions to nine under as he ended the second day tied for fourth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (64).

    World number one Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, lost top spot following his two-under-par 69.

    Carrying a two-shot lead into the second round, McIlroy was unable to replicate his first-round 65 as the Northern Irishman slipped three strokes off the pace.

    Bubba Watson – a three-time runner-up – is three under through 36 holes after his 72, while defending champion Dustin Johnson (71) and struggling Jordan Spieth (73) are both five over and tied for 60th.

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