Schauffele rallies to lead after first round of Tour Championship

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ATLANTA (AP) - Xander Schauffele was six shots behind before he ever hit a shot Thursday in the new scoring format for the Tour Championship. His goal was to keep his head down, play good golf and see where he stood to par at the end of two days.

The TV cameras following his every move on the back nine at East Lake were the first hint it was going well.

A leaderboard on the 18th green confirmed it.

"I saw I was in first," he said. "Happy with the day."

Schauffele didn't come seriously close to a bogey in a 6-under 64 that was the best score of the opening round by two shots. It was only worth a share of the lead with Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka in a Tour Championship where players started with better scores to par than others depending on their place in the FedEx Cup.

Thomas, who started at 10-under par and a two-shot lead as the No. 1 seed, still led despite having trouble finding the fairway. That was the least of his problems on the back nine. He hit pitching wedge into the water for double bogey and missed a pair of 3-foot putts for a 70.

Instead of being six shots behind Schauffele, who started at 4 under as the No. 8 seed, Thomas was tied for the lead. Koepka, the No. 3 seed who started three shots behind, birdied three of his last four holes for a 67 to join them at 10 under.

"It's weird on Thursday to be three back after a couple of holes," Koepka said of the start. "It's nice to close that gap on Day 1."

Rory McIlroy, five shots behind at the start as the No. 5 seed, had a 66 and was one shot behind at 9 under going into the second round.

Over the next three days, it should look and feel like a normal tournament.

PRO FOOTBALL

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores says he supports receiver Kenny Stills' involvement in the NFL protest movement but wants him to play better.

Flores' comments came following Miami's exhibition win over Jacksonville. The subject arose because Stills objected Monday to recent comments from Jay-Z about social activism by current and former NFL players, and the next day the Dolphins played more than half a dozen songs by the rapper at the start of practice.

Flores, who chooses the songs for practice, said he was trying to motivate Stills.

PRO BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Major League Baseball is banning players from participating in the Venezuelan Winter League in one of the first public repercussions of new U.S. economic sanctions against the Venezuelan government.

MLB said it is in contact with the U.S. government to determine how to proceed under the new sanctions against President Nicolás Maduro's administration and at least temporarily suspending involvement in the league.

The Venezuelan Winter League is one many that major league players use to hone their skills in the offseason.

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Orioles have set a major league record by allowing their 259th home run this season, breaking a tie with the 2016 Cincinnati Reds with 34 games remaining.

Baltimore right-hander Asher Wojciechowski surrendered a solo shot to Tampa Bay's Austin Meadows in the third inning to break a tie with the Reds. Wojchiechowski allowed another solo homer in the fifth to Willy Adames, his 12th homer given up this season.

OLYMPICS

Gold-medal sprint contender Christian Coleman's Olympic prospects might be in jeopardy after three missed drug tests, two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press.

The "whereabouts failures" are said to have happened over 12 months, which can be treated as a positive test and doping violation.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because cases are considered confidential.

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