Atwal tied a tournament record with 9-under-par 61 on Thursday and took a two-stroke lead at the Wyndham Championship.
The 61 matched Carl Pettersson's 2-year-old mark at the par-70 Sedgefield Country Club course in the first round of the PGA Tour's final event before theFedEx Cup playoffs.
Brandt Snedeker shot 63. John Rollins, Kevin Streelman, Lucas Glover, Boo Weekley, David Toms and Jeev Milkha Singh were at 64, and six players shot 65s during an occasionally wet day that left Sedgefield's greens soft.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Sunriver, Ore., D.A. Weibring and Tom Lehman shot 5-under-par 67s to share the first-round lead at the Jeld-Wen Tradition at Crosswater Club.
Weibring, whose best finish on the Champions Tour this season is a tie for fifth, made four of his six birdies on the front nine, including a stretch of three in a row.
Lehman also finished strong, rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt at 18 to grab a share of the lead.
Augusta native Larry Mize had 71 and was tied for 26th, while former Augusta resident Allen Doyle shot 77 and was tied for 60th.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Celadna, Czech Republic, Shiv Kapur, of India, shot 6-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Czech Open.
Swede Peter Hanson and Argentine Tano Goya both shot 67 to sit tied for second.
Kapur is seeking his first win on the European Tour.
Former Augusta State golfer Oliver Wilson shot 72 and was tied for 34th. Fellow ex-Jaguars Gary Murphy (73) and Jamie Elson (75) were further back. Murphy was tied for 50th, while Elson was tied for 87th.
WOODS COMMITS: Tiger Woods is playing the first FedEx Cup playoff event with hopes that it's not his last.
Woods on Thursday officially entered The Barclays, which starts Aug. 26.
It's the first of four playoff events that conclude with the Tour Championship and a $10 million prize to the winner of the yearlong FedEx Cup competition.
Woods is No. 108 in the standings, and he is likely to go further down the list depending on what happens this week at the Wyndham Championship. Only the top 125 players are eligible for The Barclays.