Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

FedEx Cup: Thrills, spills, double bogeys order of the day for Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy's opening round of level par 71 at the FedEx Cup play-offs was every bit as explosive, unpredictable and sometimes spectacular as the electrical storms which twice interrupted play at The Barclays in Jersey City.

Showing the same fighting spirit which propelled him into the top-10 at the recent US PGA, McIlroy bounced straight back from ugly double-bogey sixes with a birdie and then an astonishing eagle at Liberty National.

Graeme McDowell joined the Holywood star on the same score, after a less erratic round. The two compatriots sat seven shots behind the early club house lead of Kevin Stadler, who was one ahead of Ryan Palmer and Henrik Stenson. Though wayward from tee to green, Tiger Woods scrambled brilliantly for a bogey-free 67.

All season, McIlroy has been blighted by grievous errors on the golf course, but the difference at Oak Hill, and again yesterday, was his blunt refusal to let them get him down. However, yet a third double-bogey when he hit his tee shot out of bounds at the ninth, his final hole, cast a dark pall over his day's work.

One under after holing from five feet for birdie at the par-five 13th, McIlroy made a hash of 15, where he pulled his tee shot left into the waste area, found the front left bunker in two and then hit his next through the green on the way to an ugly six.

Still, he rebounded with a sweet birdie six at 16.

McIlroy responded to his double-bogey at five, where he hit his approach into water tight to the left of the green, by holing from 29 feet for a fabulous eagle at the long sixth.

Those storms led to two long stoppages as the early starters, including McIlroy, Woods and McDowell played their first round.

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