Remember on Wednesday when we said, “The week we have all been waiting for is finally here”? Well, the Tour Championship took off on Thursday, but Brooks Koepka really took it off on Thursday.

Peace up, A-Town down

The PGA Tour’s new version of the Tour Championship is off and running at East Lake Golf Club. Justin Thomas started the day with a two-shot lead, but after an even-par opening round, he will enter Friday tied with two others. To catch the FedEx Cup leader, Brooks Koepka shot a first-round 67 and Xander Schauffele reeled off a nearly flawless 64. Tour Championship Leaderboard

It should come as no surprise that these three players are tied atop this net leaderboard. Thomas won last week, Koepka has something to motivate him this week ($$$), and Xander triumphed at East Lake in 2017. The staggered scoring system separated them at the beginning of the event, but that is all in the past now. All three know how to win; we’ll see who can close it out.

Other storylines

Rors – Just one back of the leaders sits Rory McIlroy, who shot a 66 on Thursday. The Northern Irishman will play in the penultimate group with Justin Thomas on Friday.

Four under – Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Kuchar, and Paul Casey joined McIlroy with 66s on Thursday. Kuchar’s round got him within two shots of the leaders, Matsuyama’s within three, and Casey’s within four. Got all that?

Rook – The only rookie at East Lake is Sungjae Im, the 20 year-old from South Korea. Starting the event at -1, Im shot a first-round 67 and is now six off the pace. The Korn Ferry Tour money-list winner from last season is looking to secure a Presidents Cup pick from Captain Els.

Idaho potatoes korn

Like any good camping trip, the atmosphere at this week’s Albertsons Boise Open is intense. Grayson Murray and Charlie Saxson lead after one round while a baker’s dozen are within two shots. Viktor Hovland is among the group three back and needs a top-25 finish to assure himself of a spot on the PGA Tour. Of the top 13, just Zac Blair, Brendon Todd, and Mark Anderson have secured their cards for next season, so there is plenty to play for this weekend. Leaderboard

Nice walk in the Park, eh?

The LPGA Tour is north of the border this week for the CP Women’s Open. Annie Park leads the event by one shot after firing a 65 on Thursday. Park made seven birdies and an eagle on her way to the top. She will be looking for her second win in as many years after capturing the Shoprite Classic last season. Right behind Park is Pajaree Anannarukarn, Jin Young Ko, Nicole Broch Larsen, Anne-Catherine Tanguay, and defending champion Brooke Henderson. Leaderboard

Quick Hooks

The worst-kept secret in golf is finally out. Brooks Koepka announced on Wednesday night that he will be in the ESPN Magazine Body Issue next month. The release of some of the photos online rendered Twitter temporarily uninhabitable yesterday. Clearly, Brooks will do as he pleases, despite a certain television personality using the phrase “wreckless self-sabotage” to describe the diet Koepka went on to prepare for the photo shoot. Kevin Van Valkenburg broke down Koepka’s decision to appear in the issue and how it furthers his unique storyline. Full Story

In related news, Matt Kuchar was asked about Koepka’s photo shoot (who knows why), and he got awkwardly, hilariously confused.

Australians love Scandinavian countries, everyone knows that. Wade Ormsby leads the Scandinavian Invitation after a first-round 62. Joakim Lagergren (63), Alexander Levy (63), and Matthew Fitzpatrick (64) are close behind. Leaderboard

The Latest

Two trees, many options: Whispering Pines – Fried Egg intern Lawson Klotz digs into the 14th hole at the Chet Williams-designed Whispering Pines Golf Club, where he caddied last summer.

Shotgun Start: Instant reactions to the staggered start in ATL and Sean Martin joins from East Lake

It’s Friday! Brendan and Andy offer up some quick reactions to the first ever staggered start on the PGA Tour. There is a three-way tie already atop the leaderboard. Is the format a success or is this how it was always going to go? Rory McIlroy’s comments on the “legacy” impacts of a staggered start are reviewed, and Andy offers the take that the history of the Tour Championship is being killed off in the same way as the Western Open. Matt Kuchar gets confused about Brooksy’s nudes, and it cost Tiger. Then some Champions Tour intel is also relayed via a source, who is an Uber Driver. For the second half of the pod, Sean Martin of joins us to provide his early impressions from on the ground as well as some lightning-round takes on who we are surprised to see in Atlanta and who we are surprised did not make it. Flashback Friday gets into what Andy terms the greatest FedEx Cup ever and the best FedEx Cup performer ever, with the beautiful-mind memory of Sean weaving in all the random obscure facts stuck in his brain. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.

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