Xander Schauffele is a man on fire. Every camera on East Lake is eyeing him. This after his Thursday’s dramatic round one in the TOUR Championship. It’s tough enough to win an international golf tournament when the playing field starts out level, let alone when you are six shots behind Justin Thomas before you even hit a shot. Yes, that’s the predicament Schauffele had to face under the new scoring format for the TOUR Championship.
Plenty of fans my self-included were too quick to throw shade on the Tour Championship’s fresh new starting strokes format that saw BMW Championship winner Justin Thomas beginning the first round in the catbird seat at -10.
His goal was to keep his head down, play good golf and see. And see he did. Against all odds, Schauffele, the former 2017 Tour Championship champ, climbed up the leaderboard from his starting 8th place to close the day with a shared top position. He shot a low 64, the best round of the day.
‘I saw I was in first,’ he said. ‘Happy with the day.’
Schauffele shares the lead with Thomas and Brooks Koepka in a TOUR Championship where players started with better scores to par than others depending on their place in the FedExCup.
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