Patrick Cantlay, by virtue of leading the FedEx Cup standings, had a two-stroke advantage going into The Tour Championship, and he maintains that edge after the first 18 holes.
Cantlay started at -10 thanks to the Starting Strokes bonus based on the FedEx Cup standings and ended the day at -13. Rahm, the points leader at the end of the regular season before the playoffs began two weeks ago, had the best round of the day on the course by shooting a 5-under 65 on Thursday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. He started the tournament at -6, so he cut the deficit to Cantlay by exactly one-half in the opening round.
Cantlay’s (+225) putter was on fire last weekend, which kept him in a playoff with Bryson DeChambeau at the BMW Championship that lasted six holes before Cantlay finally prevailed despite being out-driven by an average of 30 yards by DeChambeau. Cantlay’s putter cooled off a bit on Thursday, but his overall game was solid if not spectacular. But he likely knows that he will have to improve on round one’s 3-under 68 if he wants to take home the $15 million bonus on Sunday.
Rahm has been the most consistent golfer this season despite winning just once—it was a big one, however, taking home the U.S. Open trophy at Torrey Pines in June. He was leading at the BMW Championship all the way until the back nine on Sunday, so it would not be a surprise to see him cap his amazing season with the FedEx Cup title. The oddsmakers agree, setting him at +175.
The odds for the rest of the field go up from there, so this is looking like a two-horse race for now. DeChambeau’s (+1000) iron game was off. He had to settle for a 1-under 70, putting him at -8—five shots behind the leader. Harris English is also at -8 on the virtue of a hole-in-one on the 15th hole, so his odds are set a bit longer at +2000.
Justin Thomas is next at +1250 after ending the first day of play at -7. With the way, he plays at East Lake, being a former Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner, a six-stroke deficit isn’t a reason to panic with 54 holes left to play. Viktor Hovland also played well for most of the round and is also at -7 (+2200). Cameron Smith also sits at -7 (+2750), and he made it to a playoff at The Northern Trust two weeks ago.
Tony Finau started at -8 after ending up second in the FedEx Cup standings by virtue of his win at The Northern Trust, but he posted a disappointing 73 on Thursday. This dropping him to -6 and making him somewhat of a longshot now at +3000.
Here are the latest odds from Jazz Sports for the winner of the Tour Championship and ultimately, the FedEx Cup.
|GOLFER||ODDS TO WIN THE 2021 TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP|
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