Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are the joint leaders through the first round of the 2020 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
This was the second year the PGA Tour utilized a format in which each golfer started with a score based upon his position in the FedEx Cup standings. Johnson sits first on the list and thus opened at 10 under before he even struck a ball.
That advantage proved important as a three-under 67 round was enough for the 2016 U.S. Open champion to end the day atop the leaderboard with Rahm. Rahm was five under after having started at eight under.
Tour Championship Leaderboard
T1. Dustin Johnson (-13)
T1. Jon Rahm (-13)
3. Justin Thomas (-11)
4. Rory McIlroy (-9)
5. Abraham Ancer (-7)
T6. Xander Schauffele (-6)
T6. Brendon Todd (-6)
T6. Sungjae Im (-6)
T6. Webb Simpson (-6)
T10. Marc Leishman (-5)
T10. Tyrrell Hatton (-5)
T10. Lanto Griffin (-5)
T10. Daniel Berger (-5)
Full leaderboard available on PGATour.com
Johnson birdied Nos. 2 and 6 before back-to-back bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes put him at even par prior to making the turn. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 provided a much-needed lift on the back nine.
Rahm was playing from behind for most of the round. Three birdies over a four-hole span on the back nine left him only one shot back of Johnson. He sliced his tee shot on No. 16 a bit but recovered nicely on his approach to set up a 17-foot birdie putt.
Justin Thomas is two shots back after moving to 11 under.
Thomas was the FedEx points leader heading into the 2019 Tour Championship but couldn't maintain that position over the course of the tournament. He finished in a tie for third with Brooks Koepka as Rory McIlroy was crowned the champion.
Thomas looked to have vengeance firmly on his mind after he birdied three of his first four holes. His momentum stalled a bit from there as he bogeyed No. 7. Birdies on 14 and 18 solidified his hold on third.
McIlroy and Abraham Ancer were respectively seven and nine shots behind Johnson to start the Tour Championship. They climbed into contention after both carding a six-under 64 round, Friday's lowest score.
McIlroy had an uneven front nine, birdieing Nos. 1, 4 and 6 but bogeying Nos. 3 and 8. He caught fire with five birdies over his remaining nine holes, including three straight to close out his round.
Ancer was the opposite in that his best work came in the front half. He was four under when he made the turn and remained there until walking to the 18th tee. He drilled his tee shot 342 yards and left himself with a difficult eagle putt after his approach came to a stop 26 feet from the cup.
With his right foot nearly touching the fringe, Ancer was money to cap off Friday with a flourish.
McIlroy and Ancer still have plenty of work to do to catch Johnson. Their performances in Round 1, give them an outside shot of doing just that.
Based on how Saturday plays out, though, the 2020 Tour Championship could turn into a two-horse race between Johnson and Rahm.