ATLANTA – Justin Thomas strolled into East Lake on Thursday with a two-shot cushion, already at 10 under, as he was welcomed with a loud applause when stepping on the first tee. But it was Xander Schauffele who seized control of the leaderboard Thursday at the Tour Championship.
Schauffele began the day at 4 under, six back of Thomas, but vaulted into the lead after a bogey-free, 6-under 64, gaining just more than five strokes on the field on a sweltering summer day in Atlanta.
Here's how the leaderboard would have looked without the staggered start:
1. Xander Schauffele (-6)
T-2. Hideki Matsuyama (-4), Rory McIlroy (-4), Paul Casey (-4), Matt Kuchar (-4)
T-6. Brooks Koepka (-3), Sungjae Im (-3)
T-8. Bryson DeChambeau (-2), Jon Rahm (-2), Corey Conners (-2), Gary Woodland (-2), Adam Scott (-2), Justin Rose (-2), Charles Howell III (-2)
15. Tommy Fleetwood (-1)
T-16. Justin Thomas (E), Patrick Cantlay (E), Patrick Reed (E), Tony Finau (E), Louis Oosthuizen (E)
T-21. Rickie Fowler (+1), Jason Korak (+1), Kevin Kisner (+1), Marc Leishman (+1), Chez Reavie (+1)
26. Abraham Ancer (+2)
T-27. Dustin Johnson (+3), Brandt Snedeker (+3), Lucas Glover (+3)
30. Webb Simpson (+4)