Rory McIlroy in Three-Way Tie Atop BMW Leaderboard
After looking like Superman for most of the summer, Rory McIlroy had been more of a Clark Kent during the first two weeks of the FedExCup Championship – good, but nothing special.
The Northern Irishman of Steel looked like he was ready to put the cape back on Thursday at Cherry Hills in Denver, posting a 3-under 67 to be part of a three-man tie for first place on Day 1 of the BMW Championship.
If McIlroy were to win the title here, only one player – current FedEx points leader Chirs Kirk – could catch him in next week’s TOUR Championship. He’s tied for first with 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who has been uncharacteristically quiet in the post-season, and Gary Woodland, who couldn’t have time a push like this any better – he’s currently 29th in the standings, and only the top 30 qualify for the final tournament of the year.
The 30-year-old Woodland was at even par at the turn, then notched back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11. Spieth had four birdies in his first seven holes, but gave have of it back with back-to-back birdies on the back nine.
Meanhile, McIlroy opened the day with three straight birdies, but cooled off after that. The trio have a 1-stroke lead over nine other players – including familiar names Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson – who had his round end a hole early because of darkness, and will start on No. 9 Friday.
Also in the mix at 2-under is American Russell Henley, who finished second at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston to leap from 62nd in the standings to 14th.
Kaymer could have had the lead all to himself until his disastrous double bogey 7 on No. 17. Stenson made nine straight pars to start his round, then had four birdies and two bogeys on the first eight holes of the front nine. His playing partners, Charl Schwartzel and Graham McDowell, will also have to play No. 9 to finish their first rounds on Friday before starting the next 18.
Nine more players are at 1-under, including Justin Rose, who also struggled late. Rose was 3-under through 14 holes, then had a double-bogey 5 on No. 15.
Kirk, who leads McIlroy by 819 points after his win last week, is tied for 29th at 1-over. Four bogeys, including two on his final four holes, set Kirk back.
Hunter Mahan, who won the Barclays Championship two weeks ago and is No. 3 in the standings, had a miserable first day, firing a 5-over 75. Only two players shots worse on the day.