Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm both opened with an 8-under 63 at Liberty National Golf Club on Thursday to share the lead at The Northern Trust in Jersey City, N.J., as the PGA Tour’s postseason began.
In the first round of the event, Thomas made nine birdies to one bogey. It was his lowest round since a 62 in Mexico in November.
Meanwhile, Rahm showed no symptoms of rust upon his return to the course. He was out of commision for a month owing to COVID-19 difficulties, which forced him to miss the Summer Games in Tokyo.
The 2021 U.S. Open champion chipped in for birdie on the third hole, then saved par on the following two holes to finish with seven birdies in his last 13.
Harold Varner III started with a 5-under 66 and finished the first round alone in third place. After the first day, Adam Scott and Mackenzie Hughes were among a six-man group tied for fourth at 4-under 67.
Bryson DeChambeau had nine birdies in his first round, but he remained eight strokes off the lead after round one at even-par 71. His nine birdies were offset by five bogeys and two double bogeys, with pars on the fourth and tenth holes.
Despite a shattered driver and a last-minute putter adjustment, defending winner Dustin Johnson shot a 1-under 70. Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele both started the day at 1-under par.
The No. 1 seed, British Open champion Collin Morikawa, started with a 74. Jordan Spieth, the second seed, got off to a shaky start with a 72.
The Northern Trust was open to the top 125 players in the FedExCup standings. The field is fighting for a $9.5 million prise pool, with the winner collecting $1.7 million.
The top 70 after this week advance to the BMW Championship, the next postseason tournament. The top 30 finishers from the event advance to the Tour Championship, which takes place in early September.