After 18 holes at Medinah Country Club, a familiar name co-leads the event after shooting 7-under 65 in Round 1. Justin Thomas — winner of the 2017 FedEx Cup Playoffs — was flawless in his bogey-free showing at Medinah on Thursday and is looking for his first win of the calendar year.
Let’s dive into his round — and how the rest of the short field played — with our Round 1 leaderboard recap. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Round 2 of the 2019 BMW Championship.
First place — Justin Thomas, Jason Kokrak (-7): Kokrak is having a severely underrated season, but Thomas is the obvious headliner here. The good news for J.T., who said he did not have a good lead in to Thursday’s round, is that he was fifth in the field from tee to green. That’ll play this time a year, and Thomas (who missed time earlier this year because of injury) seems to have something left in the tank when everyone else might be fading.
Last place — Joaquin Niemann (+2): Incredibly, only two golfers — Max Homa and Niemann — played over-par rounds on Thursday. The scoring average was 69.3 (at a 7,700-yard course!), and 67 of 69 golfers finished at even-par 72 or better.
Other contenders — Jim Furyk (-6), Brandt Snedeker (-6), Patrick Cantlay (-6), Tony Finau (-5), Collin Morikawa (-5), Xander Schauffele (-5), Rickie Fowler (-5): The story here for me is Morikawa. For him to make the Tour Championship after turning pro in June would be absolutely astounding. He likely needs to finish solo fourth or better so the road ahead is long, but he’s a phenomenal talent, and I’m fired up to see if he can sneak into East Lake.
What did Tiger Woods do?, which sounds great for where he’s been of late. The reality, though, is that Woods is T50 after Round 1 and six back of a major champ in Thomas. The worse reality is that there are many major champions between those two on the leaderboard.
Stat of the day: Brooks Koepka was 1 over through 11 holes. Then he made six 3s in a row and somehow shot a 68 in the first round. He’s in every driver’s seat right now. All of them.
Quote of the day: When Thomas said this after his 65, I did a double take. Maybe he should have more purposefully poor warm-up sessions. “I had probably the worst warm-up I’ve ever had in my entire life this morning so I truly had no idea how I was going to play today,” Thomas told Golf Channel. “Maybe the no-expectations thing is a good thing.”
What to watch on Day 2: Thomas could run away a little bit on Friday. He’s experienced in this situation after winning it all in 2017, and this is a massive course where he should play well. I want to see who runs him down, if Morikawa is a real threat and what Koepka does to start the second rounds.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way Thursday updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights from Round 1 of the BMW Championship. If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here. Can’t get enough golf? Subscribe to The First Cut with Kyle Porter where we take a weekly look at everything in the world of golf.
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