Emergency 9: TOUR Championship, Round 1
September 20, 2018
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler's interview after Round 1 of TOUR Championship
Here are nine tidbits from the first round of the TOUR Championship gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. East Lake Golf Club just outside Atlanta plays 7,362 yards to Par-70.
Know Thy Enemy
These were the top-10 selected golfers in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf game presented by SERVPRO. I included all players who were owned by 20 percent or more.
Warm and humid conditions made for excellent scoring conditions. The greens are in perfect shape and there was barely any wind to move the flags.
For the second FedExCup Playoff event running Tiger Woods put his name on the top of the leaderboard with the co-low round of the day. He matched Rory McIlroy's 62 at Aronimink at the BMW Championship and this week his 65 was joint best. After bogeying No. 1 the two-time FedExCup Playoffs champion played his final 17 holes in six-under and capped it off with a 27-foot eagle at the last. The next step is backing this round up tomorrow before I start getting excited.
Rickie Fowler rebound from an oblique injury by firing a trio of 65's over the first three rounds of the BMW Championship last time out. He's added another 65 after six birdies against one bogey today. His flat stick gained checked in at No. 2 in Strokes-Gained: Putting and he was T2 in GIR (16 of 18).
There was no surprise this week that gamers loaded up on the brand-new OWGR No. 1 Justin Rose. After clinching the top spot in the world after losing in a playoff at Aronimink, gamers were quick to jump on the fact that he's collected top-10 checks in his last five visits to East Lake. He led the field in Strokes-Gained: Off-the-Tee, Tee-to-Green and GIR. Right on schedule!
Justin Thomas has never finished worse than T6 in two trips in the last two years but he was healthy in both of those events. A slight wrist issue was taped and bandaged today and a bogey-bogey start had gamers (read: me) running for the Kleenex. He turned in one-over 36 before storming home in 31. Whew. Now, let's see how it reacts in Round 2.
No. 1 Struggles
With three wins on the season including two in the FedExCup Playoffs, it's hardly a stretch that Bryson DeChambeau ended up on the second-most rosters this week. The 25-year old matches the average winning age over the last three years but the front nine won the first battle in Round 1. Going out in 39 dug a nice hole but a clean card with three birdies on the back righted the ship. He's just six back with three rounds to play so he's hardly out of it.
Not only is Tommy Fleetwood playing in the TOUR Championship for the first time but he was paired with Woods in the first round. The Englishman circled five birdies but squared four bogeys to check in T12. He hit 14 of 18 GIR but could only get up-and-down once. He leads all of the debutants after one round. ... Francesco Molinari didn't break par but he wasn't in the black either as he carded 70 in his first loop around East Lake. ... Rookie Aaron Wise squared five bogeys but also circled five birdies as he looks to join Xander Schauffele as the only rookie to win at East Lake. He's also T17 and just five back.
Nobody has ever won back-to-back TOUR Championships and nobody has ever defended any event during the FedExCup Championships so the deck is stacked against both Thomas and defending champion Xander Schauffele. These young bucks don't seem too concerned about history other than making their own as Schauffele did last year. It's obvious that this course fits his eye as he carded another round in the red with 68 (T8) to get it started in Round 1.
Round 1 played under-par at 69.3 with 20 of 30 rounds under-par. ... As expected, there will be bogeys and nobody turned in a clean card. ... Keegan Bradley couldn't conjure the magic he provided at Aronimink as his card consisted of 15 pars and three bogeys (T28). ... If the FedExCup Playoffs ended today, Rose would be the champion. This would mark the fifth time in the last six editions that No. 2 entering the final week would win the title. We'll see how that washes out in 54 holes!