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Justin Rose completed a strong finish to post a round one 4-under-par 33-33=66 and will dine only one back of the early pace-setters Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods, tied with Gary Woodland, in the TOUR Championship at East Lake.

A fine start to the Englishman's quest for season-ending glory and yet it could have been so much better. On the front nine he drained three birdies in the 9 to 13 feet range (at 4, 8 and 9), but missed four chances from inside 19 feet (two of them from less than half of that). He also three-putted the fifth for bogey. On the way home he ticked the tenth from just 3'6", had a second three-putt bogey at No. 15, missed three par-breaking opportunities between 10 and 19 feet, and then stepped up to the plate to circle 17 from 20'11" and 18 from 5'3". Victory this week would guarantee FedEx Cup glory. Even a top nine gives him a mathematical chance of the latter, but realistically he needs to finish top three.
Sep 20 - 6:08 PM

Tony Finau feasted on East Lake Golf Club during round one of the TOUR Championship, posting a 3-under-par 33-34=67 to grab a share of fifth place, just two off the co-leaders Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler.

Making his second appearance at this event, Finau is off to the races with five birdies to erase a pair of blemishes. The big hitter split just eight fairways but recovered nicely to land 14 greens. From there, his putter caught fire as he walked off the course ranked 4th in strokes gained putting on the day. That included a trio of conversions from the 16-to-25 foot range. Finau was also one of just three golfers to birdie the opening par 4 as he stuffed his 165-yard approach to inside four feet.
Sep 20 - 6:01 PM

Rory McIlroy maintained his record of breaking 70 in round one of the TOUR Championship at East Lake; his 3-under-par 32-35=67 left him two swings behind the early leaders Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods.

A fifth appearance in the tournament for the Northern Irishman and a fifth Thursday lap in the 60s. What's more he improved on his round one average of 68.00. Early on it looked as if the effort would be even lower as he gave himself four looks at birdie inside 18 feet in the first six holes and drained all of them. But he missed the chance to make it 5-for-5 at the seventh and failed to scramble par at No. 8. After the turn he made three birdies from inside five feet (at 10, 14 and 18), but took four shots from a greenside bunker at 12 for double bogey-6 and fluffed another scramble at the 17th. He averaged 331.50 yards from the tee, found only 50% of the fairways and hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation.
Sep 20 - 5:50 PM

Justin Thomas showed no signs of a wrist injury as he recovered from an few early blemishes to record a 3-under-par 36-31=67 during the opening round of the TOUR Championship, placing him at T4 on the live leaderboard.

JT entered the week with a question mark concerning his health. He tweaked his wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship and has it taped up this week as a precaution. It didn't seem to bother him today as he gained 1.48 strokes off-the-tee and pelted 15 greens in regulation. The putter was the only weakness today as he missed four putts from the 6-to-12 foot range and a few more from just outside that range to lose 0.202 strokes putting on the day. Two of those misses came at the opening holes to drop a few shots right out of the gate. It was a nice recovery after a slow start and it included a three-hole birdie train from 10 thru 12 to please DFS gamers. Playing his ninth round at East Lake Golf Club, JT has now been inside the top 9 after all nine rounds played here.
Sep 20 - 5:50 PM

Rickie Fowler set the early target, soon matched by Tiger Woods, in the first lap of the 2018 TOUR Championship at East Lake with a 5-under-par 33-32=65.

A career-low circuit for the 29-year-old at the Atlanta track and it betters his previous round one best by no less than four swings. He's also now in A1 position to notch a top five in the season-ender for the first time in five attempts. There was little clue through four holes of what was to come, but he drained from 8'0" at the fifth, from 12'5" at the eighth and made an up-and-down for a third par-breaker at the par-5 sixth. Alas he also made bogey at No. 7 and missed a further birdie chance from 11'0" at the ninth. After the turn, he made birdies from 9'5" at the 11th, from 19'0" at the 14th and with another up-and-down at the 18th. But in an echo of the front nine he missed the chance to tick 16 and 17 from inside 11 feet. He landed 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
Sep 20 - 5:41 PM

Gary Woodland pieced together a 4-under-par 33-33=66 during round one of the TOUR Championship, grabbing a spot in third place on the live leaderboard, just one off the co-leaders Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler.

Woodland striped 10 (of 14) fairways and peppered 13 greens in regulation today. Most of his approaches left him with mid-range putts that are tough to hole on the undulating bermuda greens of East Lake Golf Club. He did miss a 5'8" birdie chance that I'm sure he'd love to have another crack at. As for the highlight reel, the Kansas Jayhawk converted a 13'7" birdie from the fringe at the 5th and then splashed home a 40'2" eagle bomb at the par-5 sixth hole. Woodland is making his sixth appearance at East Lake with a T9 (2014) and T10 (2016) as the notable finishes. Starting at 28th in the FedExCup standings, Woodland is really just playing for the TOUR Championship trophy, as he's an extreme long shot to take home the FedExCup.
Sep 20 - 5:39 PM

Tiger Woods ended his opening lap at the TOUR Championship with a dramatic exclamation mark, sinking a 27'8" eagle putt to complete a 5-under-par 34-31=65 and take a piece of the clubhouse lead alongside Rickie Fowler.

With play coming to a close, the duo are a shot clear of Gary Woodland. Making his first start in the season-ender since T22 at East Lake in 2013, the 42-year-old posted his second lowest first round score in 16 appearances, just one shot higher than the 64 which paved the way for the most recent of his two wins in the event in 2007. Tiger three-stabbed the opening green for his only bogey of the day but drained 26'4" and 15'2" putts at 5 and 6 to get under par. A pair of relatively close-range par breakers at 12 and 14 kept the forward momentum before he signed off in style. Woods piped 10 (of 14) fairways and pelted 14 greens in regulation, producing positive numbers in all the main Strokes Gained categories. The 14-time major winner, who also had a piece of the first-round lead at the BMW on his last start, started the week at 23rd on the FedExCup rankings but, right now, is projected to leap to third.
Sep 20 - 5:08 PM

Ashley Chesters was dawdling outside the top 100 after playing his front nine on day one of the Portugal Masters in 1-over but the Englishman went on a tear after the turn to deliver a 5-under-par 36-60=66 and end the opening lap in a tie for sixth.

That's three back from pacesetter Lucas Herbert. Chesters made six pars to start but when he got off that train it was via bogey-5 at No. 7. Two more pars to the turn continued his frustrating afternoon at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course but from there it was a completely different story. The World No. 365 started 3-3-3-3 on his back nine, that run comprising eagle at 12, birdies at 10 and 11 along with par at 13. That got him back into a healthy position and he continued his press with further red numbers at 15 and 18. Chesters opened with 67 on his course debut here last year before fading to T52.
Sep 20 - 3:11 PM

Kim Koivu pieced together a bogey-free 5-under-par 33-33=66 in round one of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura, ending his first ever day at the tournament in a tie for sixth place.

That's three swings back from outright leader Lucas Herbert. The Finnish golfer secured battlefield promotion after three wins on the Challenge Tour, the latest coming at last month's Rolex Trophy. He's had two early cracks at the European Tour, missing the cut at the European Masters (70-76) and last week's KLM Open (73-77), but found his mojo again today. The World No. 208 was playing in the third group out from the 1st tee today and made his first red number at the second hole. He had to be patient after that and his only other deviation from par through 13 holes was a gain at the par-3 6th. Still just 2-under with five to play, Koivu made his move by splashing red at 14, 15 and 17 to nestle himself inside the top ten.
Sep 20 - 3:01 PM

Shane Lowry won the 2012 Portugal Masters and he's in position to challenge for the title again after making birdie at half the holes in a 7-under-par 33-31=64, a score which put him T2 after the opening day and just one behind leader Lucas Herbert.

And all that despite swallowing bogey-6s on two of the par 5s where most made birdie. The Irishman's day started from 10th tee which he birdied but he gave it back two holes later with the first of his 6s. No matter, Lowry birdied 12, 15 and 16 to continue his move and wiped out another frustrating 6 with a circle at 18. On his second nine, he eliminated the errors and picked up shots at 1, 4, 5 and 7 to pull within one of the lead. When he won here six years ago, the World No. 85 started with a 67. This is his low lap in eight starts at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, beating by one the 64 he carded in round two last year.
Sep 20 - 2:44 PM

Late starter Lucas Herbert came in with a bogey-free 8-under-par 30-33=63 to take a one-shot lead over Matt Wallace, Eddie Pepperell and Shane Lowry after the first round of the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

The Aussie has four top tens this season, one of those a tied third place in the Sicilian Open where he also fired a 63 although that came in round four. Today, he raced to the turn in just 30 swishes to make early inroads on the clubhouse target set by morning starters Pepperell and Wallace. That outward nine started with a par at 10 before he picked up the pace with birdies at 11, 12, 16 and 17 along with eagle-2 at 15. On Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course's tougher front nine he caught the leaders via another red number at 3 and produced the go-ahead birdie on the par-3 6th. This is the World No. 158's first start in the event but his strong stats for Birdies (23rd) and Eagles (8th) suggested it would be a good fit. That's certainly playing out so far.
Sep 20 - 2:29 PM

Renato Paratore sprinkled eight birdies on his card in round one of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura, eventually handing in a 5-under-par 31-35=66 to sit two off leaders Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell.

The Italian, who went out in the third group from 10th tee today, made the early headlines with a barrage of early birdies. He ticked his opening hole, made more gains at 12, 14 and 15 before taking three swishes at the par-4 18th to be out in 5-under 31. It all looked plain sailing at that point but the youngster set the tone for a difficult second nine with a first bogey of the day at 1. He put it behind him with par breakers at 2 and 4 but swallowed back-to-back bogeys at 6 and 7. The World No. 216 found a final birdie of the day at 8 to register his jont-lowest first-round of the season. That other 66 came at last week's KLM Open where he took T36. On the live leaderboard he sits tied fourth.
Sep 20 - 10:06 AM

HaoTong Li roared out of the gate in round one of the Portugal Masters, eventually signing for a 6-under-par 31-34=65 to finish his morning lap at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in solo third and just one back from joint-leaders Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell.

Li was T25 on his tournament debut last year and also made the top 25 in the KLM Open on Sunday so had some nice converging trends. Gamers who took the plunge felt instant reward as the Chinese golfer started out with a trio of birdies at 10, 11 and 12. He took a brief step back with bogey-5 at 14 but hit back and then some with eagle-3 at the 288-yard 15th hole. The World No. 58 continued his forward move with gains at 17, 4 and 5 to hit top spot but swallowed a walk-off square at 9 to finish one behind.
Sep 20 - 9:31 AM

Playing his first competitive round in over a month, Sergio Garcia painted a 5-under-par 33-33=66 on day one of the Portugal Masters, his promising opening lap putting him in T4 on the leaderboard with the afternoon session now in play. UPDATE: Garcia was T6 at the end of the first round, three behind leader Lucas Herbert.

That's currently two swings back from joint-leaders Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell. Europe is holding its breath this week to see if Garcia can find some form ahead of the Ryder Cup and today's round will have eased some of those concerns. Sergio made the ideal start with birdie-3 at 10 and added further red numbers at 12 and 14. Coming home he outpaced bogeys at 3 and 7 with circles at 2, 5, 6 and 8. "I'm happy with it," he said. "Some really nice things, couple little shots here and there that I could have done better with but overall I felt liked I played a good level. It was nice to have a nice, solid round. The important thing for me today was that I stayed patient."
Sep 20 - 9:20 AM

Eddie Pepperell produced a burst of seven birdies in 10 holes to hoist up a 7-under-par 33-31=64 in round one of the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura, good enough for a piece of the early lead alongside fellow Englishman Matt Wallace. UPDATE: Pepperell ended day one in T2, a shot behind Lucas Herbert.

The two weren't playing partners today but both were part of the European Ryder Cup wildcard discussion despite missing out. Pepperell proved he'd got over that disappointment with T6 in last week's KLM Open to move up to 13th on the Race to Dubai and he continued the good play with his lowest first round of the season today. His scorecard shows he did it in three blocks. The World No. 55 opened with four pars from the 10th and then put his foot on the gas with birdies at 14, 15, 17, 1, 3, 4 and 5 to emerge on the home straight at 7-under. He had further looks but four closing pars ensured a piece of the lead with Wallace, the pair one clear of China's HaoTong Li.
Sep 20 - 9:09 AM


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