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Johnson in control at East Lake

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He was among three players at Hazeltine - site of this year's Ryder Cup - on Monday, a clear signal that Thomas, Daniel Berger and Bubba Watson were being considered by Davis Love III as the final captain's pick to be announced Sunday night after the Tour Championship.

Top-ranked Jason Day has withdrawn from the tournament with back pain, handing the points-based player of the year honors to Johnson.

The Queenslander suffered an annulus ligament tear in a disc in his back at the BMW Championship less than two weeks ago but attempted to chase the season-long title this week.

The 2015 PGA Championship victor entered the Tour Championship fourth in the FedEx Cup standings behind Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Adam Scott.

American Dustin Johnson remains in control of the Tour Championship, taking a one-shot lead after the second round.

"This is a course I feel very comfortable on", Spieth said.

"I felt like I played really, really soild today and just didn't really get a lot out of it", he said.

Johnson also remained on course for the FedEx Cup and a $11.5m payday as world number one Day was forced to pull out.

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Jason Day, the world's No. 1 player who hasn't won in four months, dropped his only shot on the opening hole and was at 67, along with Kevin Kisner and Si Woo Kim.

In the 1st round of the Tour Championship, Kevin Chappell didn't bogey a hole and finished 4 under par with birdie's on the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 9th.

With three victories this season, including his first major title and a WGC trophy at the Bridgestone Invitational, Johnson is also the frontrunner in the United States tour's player of the year race. So it's nothing where I go and physically make a move at it during a swing and my back goes out.

The same is true for all of the top five coming to East Lake but Paul Casey is Johnson's nearest pursuer from that group after two days and is five strokes behind. At two under par he closed in on the leaders who will now be nervously looking over their shoulders. So instead of that long, uphill par-3 closing hole, the finish now is a par 5 in which tee shots have to be in the fairway to have any chance at reaching the green.

Only Jordan Spieth, who made $12m previous year, and Vijay Singh, who made $10.9m in 2004, have ever made more from PGA Tour events.

"There's nothing I can do now", Watson said.

"It seems I like going against the hot player at the time", he said. Its not about anybodys play.

"As you can see, once I get a couple of birdies I get some confidence and momentum. So I can't worry about that".

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