Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler one back after squandering five-shot mid-round advantage; Rory McIlroy three behind despite struggling with a lower back issue; three share early lead at PGA Tour’s season finale; watch second round live on Friday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 25/08/23 12:51am

Highlights from the first round of the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights from the first round of the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta

Highlights from the first round of the PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta

Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa and Keegan Bradley hold a share of the lead after a remarkable opening round at the Tour Championship, where Scottie Scheffler blew a big lead and Rory McIlroy overcame injury to remain in contention.

Morikawa fired nine birdies in a stunning blemish-free 61 to get to set the clubhouse target at East Lake, with Bradley carding a bogey-free 63 and last week’s BMW Championship winner Hovland making a two-under 68 to also get to 10 under.

The trio hold a one-shot advantage over FedExCup leader Scheffler, who led by five at one stage before losing ground with three-putts, with Adam Schenk and Russell Henley a further stroke back in tied-fifth.

-10 Viktor Hovland (Nor), Collin Morikawa (USA), Keegan Bradley (USA)

-9 Scottie Scheffler (USA)

-8 Adam Schenk (USA), Russell Henley (USA)

-7 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Jon Rahm (Esp), Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng)

McIlroy – looking to become the first back-to-back FedExCup champion – struggled with a lower back issue throughout the opening round, although he mixed four birdies with as many bogeys in a level-par 70 to join Ryder Cup team-mates Jon Rahm and Matt Fitzpatrick on seven under.

Todd Lewis discusses the timeline of Mcllroy's back injury as he appeared to be visibly in discomfort at The Tour Championship

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Todd Lewis discusses the timeline of Mcllroy’s back injury as he appeared to be visibly in discomfort at The Tour Championship

Todd Lewis discusses the timeline of Mcllroy’s back injury as he appeared to be visibly in discomfort at The Tour Championship

A congested leaderboard sees major winners Brian Harman and Wyndham Clark in the group four strokes back with Xander Schauffele and Tyrrell Hatton, while 20 of the 30-man field sit within six strokes of the lead after the opening day.

Extraordinary Thursday at East Lake

Scheffler extended his pre-tournament advantage by rolling in from 10 feet at the first and responded to a missed birdie opportunity at the next with a stunning effort from 30 feet at the fourth, which moved him four ahead when Hovland failed to convert from eight feet.

Viktor Hovland is chasing back-to-back victories, following his impressive win at the BMW Championship on Sunday

Viktor Hovland is chasing back-to-back victories, following his impressive win at the BMW Championship on Sunday

Hovland failed to take advantage of the par-five fifth, allowing his playing partner to go five clear despite squandering a glorious eagle look from inside seven feet, only for Scheffler to give the field hope with a three-putt bogey at the eighth.

Scheffler’s lead was cut to two when Morikawa birdied each of his last three holes to complete a stunning bogey-free 61 and set the clubhouse target at 10 under, only to start his back nine with a birdie to restore a three-stroke cushion.

Collin Morikawa came into the season finale nine strokes back

Collin Morikawa came into the season finale nine strokes back

The world No 1 made another three-putt bogey at the 11th and dropped a shot at the 12th after catching the lip of the fairway bunker with his second shot into the par-four, as Hovland converted a birdie from the fringe at the 13th and Bradley picked up a shot at the last to both get within one.

Scheffler lost top spot when he found water off the 15th tee and three-putted from 15 feet to register his first triple-bogey of the season, knocking him two behind, with McIlroy also on eight under after charging into contention with three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the 13th.

Scottie Scheffler birdied three of his opening six holes before stuttering to an opening-round 71

Scottie Scheffler birdied three of his opening six holes before stuttering to an opening-round 71

McIlroy bogeyed the last to slip back to seven under and Scheffler made an eight-foot birdie at the 17th to get back within one, while Hovland was unable to pick up a shot at the par-five last and remained in the group on 10 under.

Scheffler splashed out of the sand to 12 feet at the par-five last and had a birdie opportunity to make it a four-way tie at the top, but failed to convert and had to settle for an opening-round 71.

Who can move ahead at the Tour Championship? Watch the PGA Tour’s season finale and the race for the FedExCup throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Friday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf.


By Sandra Winters

Writer | Author | Wordsmith Passionate about crafting stories that captivate and inspire. Published author of [Book Title]. Dedicated to exploring the depths of human emotions and experiences through the power of words. Join me on this literary journey as we delve into the realms of imagination and uncover the beauty of storytelling.