Rose in contention as Woods shares Tour Championship lead

Justin Rose hits a shot

Tour Championship first-round leaderboard
-5 R Fowler (US), T Woods (US); -4 G Woodland (US), J Rose (Eng) ; -3 R McIlroy (NI), J Thomas (US), T Finau (US); -2 P Casey (Eng), J Rahm (Spa), X Schauffele (US), J Day (Aus)
Selected others: -1 T Fleetwood (Eng), B Koepka (US); F Molinari (Ita); +3 P Mickelson (US)

World number one Justin Rose has the advantage in the race for the FedEx Cup title after ending the first round of the Tour Championship one shot off leaders Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods.

England’s Rose, 38, will become FedEx Cup champion and win $ 10m (£7.6m) with victory in the season-ending event.

He is second in the standings behind Bryson DeChambeau.

The American shot a one-over-par 71 as partner Rose finished with two straight birdies for a four-under 66 in Atlanta.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is a shot further back, while English duo Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood are two under and one under respectively.

Americans Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, last year’s champion, could also secure the FedEx Cup by winning the Tour Championship, regardless of other results.

Finau and Thomas are level with McIlroy at one shot off Rose, who is tied third with American Gary Woodland, while Johnson is two strokes further back in the 30-man field.

Tiger Woods celebrates making a putt

Fourteen-time major winner Woods came into the week with a slim chance of winning his third FedEx Cup, lying 20th in the standings and needing all the main contenders to falter.

However, the 42-year-old American provided another reminder of his stunning return from a long-standing back injury this year with a superb five-under round of 65.

After bogeying the first, Woods made four birdies over the next 13 holes before an eagle at the last moved him into a share of the lead with Ryder Cup team-mate Fowler, who hit six birdies and one bogey.

The Tour Championship is the last of four FedEx Cup play-offs that determine the season-long champion on the PGA Tour and features the top 30 points leaders, with no cut.

Rose, who is playing his first tournament since becoming world number one, won the European Tour’s equivalent Order of Merit in 2007.

The Olympic champion hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation on Thursday and made three birdies and one bogey on both the front and back nine.

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BBC Sport – Golf

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