Big Three in the shade as Harrington faces winter knee operation
Published 05/09/2015 | 02:30
Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth had one eye on their personal battle for world domination but the Big Three were shaded by the Big Yin, Brendon de Jonge in the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC in Boston.
De Jonge's 65, six under par, put the burly Zimbabwe native in the spotlight as he seeks his first win on the PGA Tour.
He led by two shots from a group on four under par which included England's Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, but much of the first-day focus was on McIlroy, Spieth and Day.
Day can achieve a lifetime ambition of being the world No 1 and supplant McIlroy this week-end. He made a good start with a three-under-par opening bid.
"I'm excited about it, but I can't think about it too much because I need to make sure that I stay focused on what I need to do to keep the form going," said Day.
McIlroy will not easily relinquish the top spot he regained without hitting a shot following Spieth's missed cut at The Barclays on Sunday, a tournament won by Day.
The Northern Irishman got to three under par at one stage but had to settle for 70, one under par, in a round which included two three-putts.
"Disappointed with the way I finished but I thought tee to green, the way I drove the ball, the way I hit my irons, for the most part it was very good.
"I had a couple of good up and downs as well. I just need to tidy up a bit around the greens a little bit. I think anything under par is a pretty good score," said McIlroy.
Spieth showed his frustration with a ragged performance as he slumped to an opening 75.
Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington revealed he has had an MRI on the right knee he injured last month, and as he suspected, he has torn his meniscus and will be out for around three months.
Harrington will pre-hab the muscles around the joint for three months and have an operation before Christmas.
On the European Tour, Bradley Dredge held the 36-hole lead of the M2M Russian Open in Moscow on ten under par 132.
The Welshman produced a second 66 to lead by one from England's Lee Slattery.
Ireland's best performer was Michael Hoey, who shot 66 for five under par.
Brian Casey of Headfort was next best on two under par.
Niall Kearney and Damien McGrane made the cut on one under, and level par respectively.
Peter Lawrie (one over), and Kevin Phelan (four over) both missed the cut.
Deutsche Bank Championship Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.30pm
M2M Russian Open Live, Sky Sports 4, 12.00pm