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Rahm and Thomas Fire 63s to Share Lead As PGA Playoffs Open
Jon Rahm – Photo Credit: Flickr
After the opening round of the US PGA Northern Trust, US Open champion Jon Rahm and fifth-ranked Justin Thomas each fired eight-under par 63s to share the lead.
At the first FedEx Cup playoff tournament, Rahm and Thomas each birdied four of the last five holes on rain-softened greens to share a three-shot lead over American Harold Varner after 18 holes at the Liberty National in suburban New York.
“It probably felt a lot tougher within us than it appeared outside, but at the end of the day, when you’re striking it well, it’s going to seem easier,” Rahm said. “Scores are out there. We just showed it. That’s mainly due to the fact of the softness of the greens.”
While battling wind that gusts up to 25 mph (40 kmh), Rahm successfully delivered a bogey-free round. Meanwhile, after finding a fairway bunker, Thomas made his lone bogey at 15.
“It was nice to play well out there in those conditions,” Thomas said. “It was very windy, which made it tough to get the ball close to the hole. I had an 8 to 10 inch (20-25 cm) putt I almost missed because of a wind gust. I stayed committed to every shot.”
Adam Scott of Australia, Mackenzie Hughes of Canada and Robert Streb, Kevin Na, Tony Finau and Cameron Tringale of America shared fourth on 67.
Rahm achieved his first major title in June at Torrey Pines. He sank a 24-foot birdie putt at the third and a 22-footer at the 17th. He had an 11-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fourth and three birdies in a row from seven feet or less starting at the par-5 sixth. He also had two more tap-in birdies on the back nine.
“I can put it in the fairway. From the fairway, you can be aggressive,” Rahm said. “You can hit it as low as you want into the wind, and that ball is going to stop on the green. If the wind stays up like this, let’s not expect everybody to be shooting 8-under every single day because that’s just not going to happen.”