BMW Championship: Rory McIlroy makes fast start to share lead as Scottie Scheffler impresses

Rory McIlroy, chasing a fourth FedExCup victory, posts a bogey-free 65 to set the early pace in Illinois. Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm among the other big names in contention. watch the second round live on Friday from 3pm on the red button and 6pm on Sky Sports Golf

With Ali Stafford

6:51, UK, Friday 18 August 2023

Rory McIlroy overcame a patchy day off the tee to take the lead after a late opening round at the BMW Championship.

McIlroy, currently third in the season standings as he chases a record fourth FedExCup win, found just three bogeys but recorded five birdies in a flawless 65 at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois.

The four-time major champion failed to take advantage of the par-five first and missed a six-foot birdie attempt at the fourth as he opened with six straight pars, only to follow up a 12-foot gain at the seventh by rolling from 15 feet at the ninth to reach the turn to 33.

McIlroy hit the ball through the trees from the rough, then chipped in for birdie at the 17th in Illinois

The world No 2 started the back nine with a birdie and rose from a greenside bunker to add another on the par-five 15th, then chipped from the back of the 17th green to help cap a bogey-free start in the tournament.

McIlroy said: “There are some courses on the PGA Tour where you can do it and know if you miss the fairway, usually you’ll be fine.

“I rode my luck a little bit. I got decent lies and from there I was able to get the club on the ball and control my distance all right.”

McIlroy feels he was lucky to play a soft golf course after hitting just three fairways on opening day of PGA Championship

McIlroy was joined at 5 under by Open champion Brian Harman, who birdied two of his three holes to match the Northern Irishman’s 65, while Rickie Fowler briefly held a three-way lead until he bogeyed his penultimate hole after finding water. from the t-shirt.

Fowler finished in a group of six a stroke off the pace that includes world No 1 Scottie Scheffler, who made four birdies in a five-hole stretch from the 11th and missed other opportunities to close his holes, with Sahith Theegala also a back. an improbable eagle hole on the par-four 14th.

Sahith Theegala grabbed an eagle at the 14th, sinking his approach from 167 yards

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, US Open champion Wyndham Clark and Chris Kirk round out the group on four under, with Collin Morikawa, Corey Conners and Cameron Young all within two of the lead.

Fitzpatrick was 40th in the FedExCup standings heading into the BMW Championship, with only the top 30 at the end of that tournament advancing to next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.

The 2022 US Open champion climbed to a projected 29th place after his opening 66 in Illinois, a round that included six birdies in nine holes between the seventh and 15th, plus bogeys at the third and 17th.

Live PGA Tour golf

Friday 18 August 18:00

Patrick Cantlay, looking to win this event for the third straight season and go one better than last week’s runner-up finish at the FedEx St Jude Championship, is in the two-under group that also includes Masters champion Jon Rahm and former FedExCup champion Jordan. Spieth, 22 out of the 50-player field under par after the opening day.

Watch the BMW Championship live all week live on Sky Sports. Early coverage starts on Friday from 3pm via the red button on Sky Sports Golf, before full coverage from 6pm.

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