McIlroy and Lowry playing FedEx catch-up at Medinah
Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry are playing FedExCup catch up in the BWM Championship at Medinah.
McIlroy fired a three-under 69 but found himself four shots behind Justin Thomas and Jason Kokrak and projected to fall from third to fifth in standings ahead of next week's Tour Championship in Atlanta and the battle for the $15 million bonus.
Thomas shot a bogey-free, seven-under 65 to lead by a shot in the clubhouse and push Brooks Koepka off the top of the projected FedExCup standings.
PGA champion Koepka was three shots adrift of McIlroy after 11 holes but made three birdies and an eagle in his next five to match Patrick Reed with a 68 and remain in the hunt to start the handicapped Tour Championship on 10-under.
McDowell must finish third in Chicago to make it to Atlanta for the first time. But after making two birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes, he ended the day tied for 23rd with McIlroy after a 69.
Open champion Lowry is treating the FedExCup playoffs as the cherry on top of a brilliant summer, but he's in danger of falling out of the top-30 who make it to East Lake after finding just six fairways in an opening 72.
The Clara man (32) must finish solo 29th to remain in the top 30 who head to Atlanta, but he was tied was 61st in Chicago and projected to fall to 36th.
Tiger Woods must finish 11th if he's to defend his Tour Championship title next week, but he too has work to do after a 71.
Malaysia's Gavin Green opened with an eight-under 64 to lead the D+D Real Czech Masters by a shot from South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen and England's Lee Slattery.
Greystones' Paul Dunne was tied 39th after a two-under 70 with Gavin Moynihan 72nd after a 71 and Pádraig Harrington 109th after a 73.
In the first event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, Seamus Power made a disappointing start in his bid to win back his PGA Tour card.
The West Waterford star (32) racked 35 putts in a 5-over 76 in the opening round of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in Ohio, dropping four shots over his last four holes.
He has three events to win one of 25 cards via the three-event playoff series and needs a hot second round just to make the cut in Columbus where Norway's Viktor Hovland shares the lead with Cameron Percy after a seven-under 64.
At the inaugural ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women, Scotland's Craig Ross shot a six-under 64 to lead by a shot. In a first for Europe, men and women are playing separate events at the same venues for an equal share of a $500,000 prize fund.
Cork's John Hickey and Derry's Ruaidhri McGee shot 68s at Galgorm Castle to lead the Irish challenge in 20th on two-under with Cormac Sharvin, who also shot 68 at Massereene.
England's Eleanor Givens opened with a six-under 67 at Galgorm Castle to lead the parallel women's event by a shot from American Beth Allen and Germany's Karolin Lampert.
Stephanie Meadow was the best of the Irish, tied for fourth after a three-under 70. It was a memorable day for Lurgan's Annabel Wilson and Castlewarden shortly after receiving their A-Level and Leaving Cert results.
The amateur duo shared eighth on two-under, outshine tour star Leona Maguire, who was 15th after a one-under 71 at Massereene.
In amateur golf, Elm Park's Anna Foster made it through to the last 16 of the R&A Girls' Amateur Championship at Panmure as Royal Dublin's Max Kennedy and Black Bush's Sean Doyle qualified for the last 32 of the Boys' Championship at Saunton.