3 things you should know after Round 1 of the Tour Championship

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm tees off on the 4th hole at East Lake Golf Club on Friday.

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Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are tied after one round of the Tour Championship. Rahm and Johnson were tied after four rounds last week at the BMW Championship. Johnson made a long birdie putt on 18 to make last week’s playoff. Rahm made a longer birdie putt to win the playoff. Johnson made five birdies at the Tour Championship. Rahm made birdie on those five holes. It was Round 1 of the Tour Championship. It was Round 5 of the Rahm-Johnson Championship. Here are three things you should know after Friday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, the final event in the FedEx Cup playoffs.        

Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm lead 

Johnson led by two strokes over Rahm entering Friday, thanks to his top finish in the season-long FedEx Cup standings, before Rahm caught him. Much last week, too. Johnson also led entering the final round of the BMW before Rahm caught him. 

At the Tour Championship, Johnson and Rahm exchanged birdies on the 2nd, 6th, 12th, 13th and 15th. Rahm closed the gap as he had one less bogey and one more birdie, his 3 on the par-4 16th pulling him into a share of the lead. Johnson finished with a 3-under 67 and Rahm a 5-under 65, and both are at 13-under overall.  

“I mean, the only birdie we didn’t share was mine on 16. Besides that we birdied every single hole together, which is kind of unique, right? We just didn’t have bogeys on the same bogeys,” Rahm said. 

“I mean, technically it is a continuation, right?” Rahm added. “I kind of stole that tournament last week from him and he started with a two-shot lead, so hopefully I can steal this one, as well.”

Justin Thomas is in contention 

Johnson and Rahm lead by two over Justin Thomas, by four over Rory McIlroy and by six over Abraham Ancer. 

Thomas, who started the day three shots behind Johnson, started well and ended well, as he birdied 1, 2, 4, 14 and 18 for a 4-under 66 and an 11-under total. 

McIlroy ties for the day low round 

Four days after his wife, Erica, gave birth to their first child, Poppy, McIlroy shot a 6-under 64, tied for the day’s best round with Ancer, and his second-best round of the year. 

Oh baby! 

McIlroy birdied eight holes, including his last three. 

“Yeah, golf was the furthest thing from my mind the first few days this week,” said McIlroy, who started the day seven shots behind Johnson. “And then once we got home on Wednesday and everything was good and mom and baby were healthy, that sort of took a load off my mind, and that meant I could come here and somewhat focus on what I’m supposed to do.”

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor