Aces high for Day as McIlroy left with faint hopes of FedEx revival
Jason Day stole the show at the BMW Championship in Conway Farms with a stunning display which included an ace at the 17th hole.
Day was pumped up with delight as he realized he had won a BMW M7060i car for his seven-iron shot to the 186-yard penultimate hole.
It was the icing on a very sweet cake for Day, who also chipped in for an eagle three at the 14th en route to a six-under-par 65.
The Aussie set the clubhouse lead at 13-under. He was later joined on that mark by Rickie Fowler whose nines were 33 and 31 for a 64.
Rory McIlroy languished 12 shots adrift of the leaders after a 69 left him on one-under par.
McIlroy's projected FedEx Cup rank when he finished his round was 59th, and a place in the top 30 who go to the finale at East Lake next week looks unlikely.
All he can do now is hope for a much-improved performance to regain some pride over the next two days.
Barring a change of scheduling plans, the Dunhill Links from October 5-8 will be his final competitive appearance before he hunkers down and rehabs his rib problem, works on key aspects of his game, and decides on a permanent caddie to replace JP Fitzgerald after their recent parting of the ways.
He will never give up hope of producing something dramatic in the next two days, but McIlroy told Sky Sports: "I need to obviously hurry up and do something over the weekend if I want to make it to Atlanta.
"There's a lot of guys that are making a lot of birdies. I just haven't been able to put it all together over the first two days.
"I'm making enough birdies, I guess. I had five birdies out there today. If can limit my mistakes, I can maybe do something over the weekend and give myself a chance of making the Tour Championship." he said.
Yesterday was a case of grinding as hard as possible, but without any spectacular rewards.
McIlroy double-bogeyed the par-three sixth hole, but bounced back with a brace of birdies to turn in level-par 35.
A birdie three at the 12th where he pitched the ball beautifully to inside two feet lifted his spirits only to have them dampened down again by a bogey on 13.
He rallied with two more birdies at the 14th and 15th, but that was as good as it got.
Closer to home, Pádraig Harrington and Paul Dunne played 24 holes and 33 holes respectively at the KLM Open at The Dutch in the Netherlands yesterday.
The Irishmen were among the groups whose first round was disrupted by bad weather on Thursday afternoon. Both players were on level-par. Harrington completed his first round in 72, and got through his second 18 with a 70. Dunne filed 74, 68 for his 142 total over the par-71 layout at Spijk, near Rotterdam.
French rookie Joel Stalter, a Challenge Tour graduate, claimed the clubhouse lead when he followed an opening 65 with a second round 67 to lie ten-under at the halfway stage.
Finland's Mikko Ilonen, the 2014 Irish Open champion, registered the European Tour's 1,000th ace with a nine-iron shot at the 14th hole.
In other news, day one of the 26th PGA Cup - the Ryder Cup for club professionals - ended 4.5 to 3.5 for the GB & Ireland team at Foxhills in Surrey.
David Higgins and Chris Currie beat Omar Uresti and Paul Claxton 3&1 in the morning fourballs, while Damien McGrane and Greig Hutcheon lost 3&2 to Rod Perry and Jamie Broce.
The Irish duo teamed up for foursomes in the afternoon and halved their match against Uresti and Matt Dobyns.
Meanwhile, John Whelan of the Irish Professional Footballers Golf Society reminds members that the final outing of the season takes place at Clontarf GC next Friday (1.0-2.0pm)
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