Sunday 22 April 2018

Jaded McIlroy well off pace at Cog Hill

William S Callahan

RORY McILROY opened his sixth high-pressure event in seven weeks with a jaded five-over par 76 at the BMW Championship yesterday.

There's no cut in Chicago, but after starting the BMW at 29th in the FedEx Cup standings, McIlroy needs to pull all the stops out over the next 54 holes to make the 30-man field for the upcoming Tour Championship.

Wayward from tee-to-green and struggling to come to grips with Cog Hill's infamously unpredictable greens, McIlroy perhaps needs a couple of weeks rest before next month's Ryder Cup.

He bogeyed his opening two holes and, after sinking a four-footer for birdie at three, the Ulster youngster dropped another shot out of a greenside bunker at the short sixth, and followed with a nasty double-bogey six after driving deep into the hazard at seven.

The 21-year-old missed a three-foot putt there; took another bogey at the par-five ninth to turn in five-over and three-putted from 12 feet for bogey at 11, his third six in five holes.

McIlroy fought on gamely, making birdie at 15; bogey out of another greenside bunker at 16 and sank a nice 10-footer for birdie at 17.

Matt Kuchar, suffering with a sore throat, muscle pains and a fever, felt too ill to talk with reporters after the superb first round 64 which left him one ahead of Ryan Moore in the clubhouse.

Ian Poulter was one further back after a 66, despite a double-bogey six at 10, his first hole.

Tiger Woods, needing a top-five finish to make the Tour Championship, also doubled his opening hole and, after going three-over through six, he scrambled back to one-over par before bogeying the last to finish nine shots adrift on 73.

Phil Mickelson didn't fare much better, carding a one-over-par 72

  • Ireland's Rebecca Coakley was only two shots off the pace after an opening round of 68 in the Open de France at the Paris International GC yesterday. Last year's winner, Swede Linda Wessberg, produced a brilliant six-under-par 66 to take the lead.

BMW Championship,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0

Irish Independent

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