In addition to who might win the FedEx Cup, one of the more intriguing storylines entering the Tour Championship was the player of the year race. The consensus was that Justin Thomas was the favorite, but a win from Jordan Spieth at East Lake could change that popular opinion. So far, Thomas appears to be leaving no doubt, carding rounds of 67 and Friday's four-under 66 to grab a share of the lead at seven-under 133.
Thomas, 24, began his round with four straight pars before making his first birdie at the par-4 fifth, which he followed with another birdie at the par-5 sixth. Unable to make many putts, the reigning PGA Championship winner played his next 11 holes in even par and reached the 18th tee two shots off the lead. After smashing a 335-yard drive, Thomas hit his 229-yard approach into the par-5 green to five feet, then holed the eagle to end his round on a high note.
It is Thomas' second appearance in the Tour Championship, his only other coming last season, when he finished in a tie for sixth. He entered the week at second in the FedEx Cup standings behind Spieth, but is now projected first.
Paul Casey, 40, is also at seven under thanks to a round of three-under 67. The Englishman has had a fine season, reaching 10th in the standings coming into East Lake, but has yet to notch a victory. A win this week would be just the second PGA Tour victory of his career, the first coming at the 2009 Shell Houston Open.
Webb Simpson's round got off to a blazing start, with five birdies on his first 11 holes, but a double bogey at the par-4 13th saw him squander what was a three-shot lead at the time. The 2012 U.S. Open champion made five consecutive pars to finish and also holds a share of the lead at seven under after shooting a three-under 67.
Four players are just one back at six-under 134, including Patrick Reed, whose five-under 65 was the low round of the day. It's his fourth straight start at the Tour Championship, where he's finished no higher than T-19.
Justin Rose, Gary Woodland and Jon Rahm are also in a tie for fourth at six under.
Three back is Jason Day, who carded a three-under 67 to get to four-under 136.
Jordan Spieth and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson are four shots off the lead at three-under 137.