Rory McIlroy carded a superb 66 round to transfer to the season-end Tour Championship in one shots of the title. As part of a staggered starting system put in place from the FedEx Cup points list of the PGA Tour, the Northern Irishman started round one five shots off the lead. 30-year-old Mcllroy voiced some concerns with the current system, but still went on to score a total four birdies in a four-under-par-round. He advanced to nine under par overall, and was just one shot behind co-leaders Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele,
Only the top 30 on the FedEx Cup points list of the PGA Tour qualify for the Tour Championship and their starting scores work on a sliding scale down to the 26th to 30th players who start on level par.
The eventual winner will pick up a $15 m (£ 12.2 m) award and McIlroy would have shared the lead overnight if he had managed to sink his final shot in an eight-foot birdie putt. Talking about his progress, he told reporters that he had got off to a good start, and that it was good to be playing back nine in three and finish off with a solid result, and hopes for more luck in the future. As a consequence of his position on the FedEx Cup points list created throughout the season, Thomas started the day at 10 under to maintain a two-shot benefit on the ground.
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