Sept 4 (Reuters) - Dustin Johnson made two consecutive bogeys going into the turn but still held a one-shot lead over Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas midway through his opening round at the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta on Friday.
As top seed in the season-long points standings, Johnson started at 10-under par with a two-shot lead thanks to the staggered scoring system but he could only mix two birdies with two bogeys for an even-par 35 through nine holes at East Lake.
He had led by three after a birdie at the par-five sixth but bogeys at eight, where he found a greenside bunker, and nine, where he missed the fairway for a third straight hole, left him right where he started at 10-under overall.
The long-hitting Johnson, runner-up to Spaniard Rahm last weekend after winning the playoff opener the previous week, is competing in the Tour Championship for a 12th consecutive season, the longest active streak on the PGA Tour.
Rahm, who sank a 66-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win last week and vault to second in the standings, covered the front nine in one-under and was just one behind Johnson, having started the day two shots back.
Former FedExCup champion Thomas, who started in third place three shots back, birdied three of his first four holes but dropped to two-under on the day after a bogey at the par-four seventh, leaving him at nine-under.
The winner from this week’s elite 30-player field will be crowned FedExCup champion and take home an eye-popping $15 million.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy, who started the day in 12th place at three under, was six-under overall after mixing five birdies with two bogeys through 14 holes. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ian Chadband)
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