Kyle Stanley in command in Atlanta


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Kyle Stanley claimed a surprise lead after the first round of the Tour Championship as his round of 64 gave him a two-shot cushion.

Stanley, 12.00 to win the event, fired home seven birdies at East Lake on Thursday, but he did drop one shot as the rest of the players closed in.

He will start Friday’s round on six-under par, with Webb Simpson, Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka and Paul Casey two shots back in a tie for second.

The quartet will all be confident of catching Stanley when play resumes, with Simpson feeling good this weekend. The 32-year-old insists his game is dramatically improving and he is ready to fight for the title.

He told the PGA Tour: “I’ve been putting a lot better, and second, I think I’ve been thinking a lot better. I haven’t hit it great this year but I’ve hit it good enough, and the ball striking’s coming.

“I think the reason I haven’t won is because I haven’t been able to put together four days of good ball striking.

But I have seen improvements the last couple months and hopefully I can get a tournament here soon where I do have four rounds in a row.”

Simpson is priced at 19.00 to win, but the favourite is still Jordan Spieth at odds of 4.75.

The American star fired a round of 67 to move into a tie for sixth alongside Russell Henley, Gary Woodland and Jon Rahm.

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