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Thomas coughs up lead at East Lake: 'Really weird' starting in front

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ATLANTA – Justin Thomas learned the hard way that starting the week with a lead isn’t as easy as one might think.

As the FedExCup points leader, he began the Tour Championship at 10 under par and two strokes ahead of Patrick Cantlay, who was second on the list, and 10 shots clear of Jason Kokrak, No. 30 in points.

Following an even-par 70 to start the week, that lead had vanished and by the time he closed with a 2-under 68 he found himself five shots behind champion Rory McIlroy, who started the week at 5 under and finished at 18 under.

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“It was really weird and hard teeing off on Thursday ahead of everybody,” Thomas said. “I don't know how everybody else feels, but I had a pretty hard time playing the normal way that I play. It's hard to just imagine everybody starts at zero when you don't. So that was tough.”

Thomas finished tied with Brooks Koepka in third place and collected $3.5 million in FedExCup bonus earnings. McIlroy won $15 million.