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After one day of action at the 2023 Tour Championship, the starting leader is no longer at the top of the leaderboard and has been replaced by three players. Scottie Scheffler’s opening effort of 71 has left him a shot behind the leaders who all caught up to the 26-year-old’s starting score in just one round.
The three men at the top are Keegan Bradley, Collin Morikawa and last week’s BMW Championship winner, Viktor Hovland. All three men performed well on day one but Morrikawa’s round of 61 will live long in the memory. It was his best round of the season, exactly when he needed it the most.
Only one man, Emiliano Grillo, is over par on the leaderboard, which shows how high the standard has been on the opening day at East Lake in Atlanta. Ahead of day two, let’s take a look at the leaderboard and the highlights of day one.
Collin Morikawa (USA)
Keegan Bradley (USA)
Viktor Hovland (NOR)
Scottie Scheffler (USA)
Adam Schenk (USA)
Rusell Henley (USA)
Matt Fitzpatrick (ENG)
Rory McIlroy (NIR)
Jon Rahm (ESP)
Tyrrell Hatton (ENG)
Xander Schauffele (USA)
Round one highlights
Morikawa lights it up
The best round of the day came from Collin Morikawa who started the week on -1 after finishing the season in 24th place in the FedEx Cup rankings. In reality, it has been the worst season Morikawa has experienced since turning professional, recording zero wins and just five top ten finishes. Luckily for the two-time major champion, he has seemingly found his best game at the perfect time.
His nine-under-par round of 61 was sublime from start to finish with Morikawa carding seven birdies, one eagle and zero bogeys along the way. He ended his round with three consecutive birdies which has left him in a three-way tie for the lead at the top of leaderboard. Under normal strokeplay rules, he would have a two-shot solo lead.
Marvelous Morikawa. pic.twitter.com/wJoquvdbey
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 24, 2023
Another superb round from Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley has returned to his best at times this season, winning two events and coming second in a third. Unfortunately, he has thrown in some horror shows too which resulted in him entering this week in 13th place in the FedEx Cup rankings.
As a result, when Bradley teed it up on Thursday, he was already seven shots behind Scottie Scheffler at the top of the leaderboard but he has wasted no time in bridgin that gap. His seven-under par round of 63 was also faultless with the 37-year-old failing to drop a shot throughout the 18 holes which was topped up by seven birdies.
Scheffler blows his lead
Scottie Scheffler started this week as the comfortable favourite and for good reason. Not only is he the number one ranked player in the world but he was also the number one ranked player in the 2023 FedEx Cup rankings. The work to get himself into that position earned him an automatic two-shot lead – a fairy significant gap when you consider how consistent the American has been all year.
At one point on Thursday, that two-shot lead had become a five-shot lead due to Scheffler getting off to a hot start and those around him failing him to keep up. That all changed on the back nine, though, thanks to back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 and a double bogey on the 15th. The end result was a one-over-par round of 71 which has left him a shot behind the three leaders going into round two.
McIlroy battles against injury
Rory McIlroy is playing to become the first man to win two consecutive FedEx Cups this week and things didn’t exactly go to plan on Thursday as he visibly battled against a back injury. The Northern Irishman hasn’t been able to hit a ball all week in preparation so was understandably a bit all over the place but he is still very much in contention going into day two – three shots off the pace.
Speaking after his round, McIlroy said: “I hung in there and I just felt like if I could get through today, it’s better than it was yesterday. Hopefully tomorrow’s better than it was today and just try to keep progressing. The fact that I’m only going to be three off the lead, I’m over the moon about.”
The Tour Championship updated odds
- Scottie Scheffler – 10/3
- Viktor Hovland – 7/2
- Collin Morikawa – 9/2
- Rory McIlroy – 8/1
- Jon Rahm – 12/1
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