Besties Spieth, Thomas three off Tour Championship lead

Steve Hummer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Golf

ATLANTA -- By unofficial count it was a simple two-fist-bump beginning at the first tee Thursday. And a simple cool handshake on the 18th green. No secret fraternal shakes or bro-hugs. Not so much as a playful locker room-style towel snap.

Just two good buddies enjoying the ultimate golf outing, with $11 million or so on the line.

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, friends since before their voices changed, were the final twosome on the first day of the Tour Championship. That's the spotlight dance of this little cotillion.

The fact that the top two in FedEx Cup points are coincidentally best of friends is a nice little human element amid all the crass talk here about lottery-like FedEx Cup payoffs and the scramble for player-of-the-year honors.

Is there a cultural anthropologist in the house? For it is time to study just how this relationship might affect the larger picture of the competition. How will this dynamic play out should they come to the end Sunday both in range of a tournament win and a sultan's bonus?

The clues they offered Thursday seemed to indicate that it would be a very close encounter between brothers of different mothers. They mirrored each other over Round 1, finishing with identical 3-under 67s. That left them most definitely in range of first-round leader Kyle Stanley (6 under) and the four players lined up behind him at 4 under.

While the specifics of their rounds varied slightly, Spieth and Thomas arrived at their scores by basically the same route.

"We were both on the grind a little bit," Spieth said. "I thought he drove the ball really well, and he could have shot a phenomenal round."

Thomas was better off the tee, hitting 11 of 14 fairways compared with Spieth's nine of 14. Spieth was the more accomplished scrambler, and took 27 putts to Thomas' 28.

"We just went on kind of streaks -- streaks of good, and then we would kind of get a bad break on one. But yeah, we enjoy it very much, it's fun to play together."


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