ATLANTA, Ga. -- Dustin Johnson, who won the BMW Championship two weeks ago, opened the Tour Championship with a four-under par 68 at East Lake Golf Club on Thursday and is tied for the lead with Hideki Matsuyama and Kevin Chappell.
Johnson, who has won three times already and is No. 2 in the World Ranking, made a two-putt birdie from 57 feet at the par-5 18th hole to claim a share of the lead. That Johnson finds himself atop the lead is no surprise, as he leads the tour in Round 1 scoring.
Matsuyama, meanwhile, has quietly put together a strong 2016 campaign. Not only did he notch his second career tour win in Phoenix, but the 24-year-old rising star posted top-10 finishes at the Masters, Players and PGA Championship. After Day 1 at East Lake, Matsuyama is in position to cap his season in style. Matsuyama fired a four-under 66 on Thursday to join Kevin Chappell as early co-leaders of the Tour Championship.
Known as one of the best ball-strikers in the game, Matsuyama struggled with his irons in the first round, hitting just 11 greens on the day. Luckily for the Japanese native, he was four-for-four on sand saves, and his notoriously-fickle putter was on fire.
"My putting and short game saved me today," Matsuyama said after the round. "I wasn't hitting the ball real crisp."
The same could not be said for Chappell, who hit 16 greens on Thursday. He jumped up the leaderboard thanks to a four-under 31 on the front, and played a bogey-free back nine to keep things afloat.