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Rahm has 65 to catch up to Johnson at Tour Championship

ATLANTA (AP) – Five days later, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm are nonetheless going at it. They dressed about the identical Friday within the Tour Championship, matched birdies on 5 holes and wound up tied for the lead at East Lake.

That required Rahm getting the higher of Johnson once more.

Rahm, whose 65-foot birdie putt beat Johnson in a playoff at Olympia Fields final week, had a 5-under 65 that allowed him to make up the two-shot deficit at the beginning of the spherical that was awarded Johnson because the No. 1 seed within the FedEx Cup.

Johnson did his half with a 67, dropping a three-shot edge early with back-to-back bogeys to finish the entrance 9, after which lacking a birdie putt from simply over 4 toes on the ultimate gap that will have given him the lead.

“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?” Rahm stated.

They had been at 13-under par primarily based on their beginning positions within the FedEx Cup finale.

It was the second straight yr beneath this format the FedEx Cup chief, who begins at 10 beneath with a two-shot lead, ended the opening spherical in a tie for the lead.

“Technically, it is a continuation,” Rahm stated. “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 was within the prime spot a yr in the past and opened with a 70. He stated later it felt awkward to begin the match with a two-shot lead earlier than hitting a shot. This yr, he started at 7 beneath and shot a 66 to finish the day two pictures behind.

“I learned I would have rather been at 10 under than 7,” he stated. “That being said, I feel like I’m in a good frame of mind. I’m in a good place mentally right now where I would like to feel like I would handle the golf course the same no matter what I was at. But I did a good job of just staying in my game today.”

The greatest transfer belonged to the participant who might need had the least expectations. Rory McIlroy left Chicago on Sunday and spent three days together with his new child daughter, Poppy, solely arriving in Atlanta on Thursday.

He completed with three straight birdies, getting up-and-down from a bunker in need of the inexperienced on the par-5 18th, for a 64. He began seven pictures behind and completed the opening spherical solely 4 again.

“Even though I’ve had success here, I was coming in with no expectations. I didn’t touch a club for four days in between tournaments,” McIlroy stated. “I come in here and golf was sort of the furthest thing from my mind. And sometimes that’s a good thing just to decompress and get away from it. Yeah, happy to have the start that I did.”

Abraham Ancer additionally had a 64 and reduce three pictures off his deficit, getting inside six pictures of Johnson and Rahm.

A a muggy afternoon with average wind that allowed for 17 gamers within the 30-man discipline to break par. The common rating was 68.7. Johnson and Rahm spent many of the day taking part in out of the tough, which makes it more durable to get it shut.

“The key out here is driving,” Johnson stated. “If you can drive it in the fairway, you can sho-ot a good score. The greens are so good, and the only way to control the golf ball coming into the greens is hitting out of the fairway. That’s the only thing I need to do a little better tomorrow.”

Johnson, Rahm and Thomas maintain the important thing to so many hopes within the chase for the FedEx Cup and its $15 million prize. If they play effectively, it makes it troublesome for anybody to make up an excessive amount of floor on the gamers who occurred to be the highest three gamers on this planet rating.

Johnson and Rahm had golf buzzing final week with that wild end at the BMW Championship, the place Johnson holed a bending 45-foot birdie putt down the slope on the ultimate gap to drive a playoff, and Rahm adopted by making a 65-foot birdie putt on the 18th gap that turned out to be the winner.

Both wore navy trousers, a light-weight blue shirt and a white cap. From a distance, it could possibly be laborious to inform them aside, particularly with the birdies. Rahm holed one from 20 toes on the par-3 second gap, and Johnson matched him from 6 toes. Both received up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 sixth.

On the again 9, they matched birdies on the twelfth, thirteenth and fifteenth holes – Rahm was exterior him all 3 times.

“I feel like I was doing most of the pushing because I made pretty much every single birdie putt before he did,” Rahm stated. “Props to him to be making them on top of me.”

The Spaniard lastly caught him an 18-foot birdie putt on the sixteenth – Rahm’s fourth birdie in 5 holes – and each squandered birdie probabilities on the closing gap.

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