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McIlroy shares lead in Carmel

World number one Rory McIlroy was among a quartet of players atop the leaderboard after continuing his sparkling form with an eight-under-par 64 in the first round of the USPGA Tour BMW Championship at Crooked Stick in Carmel.

The Northern Irishman, winner of the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton on Monday, was joined by Canada's Graham DeLaet and American duo Bo Van Pelt and Webb Simpson.

Tiger Woods was ominously placed one shot off the pace alongside Fiji's Vijay Singh, with England's world number two Luke Donald and Americans Ryan Palmer and Ryan Moore a further stroke adrift.

McIlroy had seven birdies and eagled the par-five 15th, the only blot on his copybook coming with a bogey four on 13. The 23-year-old was delighted to have started the tournament in such positive fashion.

"It was great," said the two-time major winner, who began on the 10th and closed with consecutive birdies on eight and nine. "With the soft conditions, you could really shoot a number out there, and I did.

"I took advantage of hitting the ball really well, hitting it in the fairway, which I need to do, and also hitting it long, and gave myself a lot of opportunities. I missed a few, but was able to make the most of them. Great start to the tournament."

The USPGA champion, leader of the FedEx Cup standings after his Norton triumph, added: "I could have [taken this week off], but I think it's a huge advantage going into East Lake [the Tour Championship from September 20-23] with the number one spot."

McIlroy's playing partner Woods chipped in from 30 feet for birdie on his last hole and afterwards spoke in glowing terms of his young rival.

"This is the next generation of guys coming out," the 36-year-old American said. "He's a nice kid, he really is. It's fun to play with him, and he's just an amazing talent. You watch him swing the club and watch him putt and play - he doesn't have a lot of weaknesses.

"You can see that in the next decade or so, as he really matures and understands some of the nuances of the game, he's only going to get better. And that's fun to see. The game of golf is in great hands with him, and he's here to stay."


From Belfast Telegraph