McIlroy in contention as Woods struggles in first FedEx Cup play-off event

McIlroy in contention as Woods struggles in first FedEx Cup play-off event

Shane Lowry has recovered from a shaky start to card a two-under par 69 on the opening day of the Northern Trust.

Rory McIlroy's had a good day in New Jersey, shooting a six-under-par 65 in the opening round as Tiger Woods struggled to a 75 in the first FedEx Cup play-off event.

Troy Merritt equalled the course record 62 to hold the clubhouse lead on 9-under par.

McIlroy recovered from a bogey on the 10th, his first hole of the day, to record an eagle and five birdies at Liberty National and lie three shots off the clubhouse lead held by American Troy Merritt.

Merritt’s flawless 62 gave him a one-shot lead over former world number one Dustin Johnson, who also kept a bogey off his card in his 63, with Kevin Kisner and Spain’s Jon Rahm a stroke further back on seven under.

“I played well,” McIlroy told PGA Tour Live. “It was a little bit of a scrappy finish, I had to get up and down twice (for par on the eighth and ninth), but I played better.

“I hit some better iron shots today than I saw all week in Memphis, hit some nice little left-to-right shots that I didn’t have a couple of weeks ago and I drove it well, so if I continue to drive it well around here hopefully I’ll give myself plenty of chances to make birdies.”

McIlroy began the week second in the FedEx Cup standings and played the opening round alongside leader Brooks Koepka and third-placed Matt Kuchar.

The 30-year-old won the overall FedEx Cup title and USD 10million bonus in 2016 and would love to repeat the feat this season, especially with the first prize increased to a staggering USD 15million.

“I really like the play-offs,” McIlroy added. “Brooks and Kuch and I were playing together today and that could be the same thing next week depending where we end up in the standings after this week.

“I like that you have that intensity from the start. It was cool to play with those guys and I have another day with them tomorrow, sort of keep an eye on what they’re doing and try to play another good round of golf.”

McIlroy in contention as Woods struggles in first FedEx Cup play-off event

The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup after this week advance to the BMW Championship and the top 30 after Medinah qualify for the Tour Championship, but Woods is projected to fall from 28th to 35th in the standings after his error-strewn 75.

The Masters champion carded three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey, but at least did not look to be struggling with the stiff back which forced him to play a limited role in Wednesday’s pre-tournament pro-am.

More on this topic

Kinsale brace for Barton Shield battle with LimerickKinsale brace for Barton Shield battle with Limerick

Solheim Cup fans to have free access to menstrual productsSolheim Cup fans to have free access to menstrual products

Padraig Harrington's embarks on Prague missionPadraig Harrington's embarks on Prague mission

How to deal with sporting snailsHow to deal with sporting snails

More in this Section

'We gave supporters something to shout about': Cahill hails Tipp's lightning start'We gave supporters something to shout about': Cahill hails Tipp's lightning start

Dominant Liverpool ease to win over ArsenalDominant Liverpool ease to win over Arsenal

Virgil van Dijk’s 50-game dribbling record ended during win against ArsenalVirgil van Dijk’s 50-game dribbling record ended during win against Arsenal

Messi missing again as Barca look for first winMessi missing again as Barca look for first win


Lifestyle

These green pancakes are topped with avocado, tomato and cottage cheese.How to make Jamie Oliver’s super spinach pancakes

Who else can pull off a look described as a ‘hip-hop Michelin woman’?As her new EP drops, this is why there will never be a style icon quite like Missy Elliott

The classic white-tipped look is once again in favour, and celebs are loving it.The French manicure is back – 5 modern ways to try the trend

The A-Listers hiding in plain sight: As Rihanna is spotted at the cricket, who are the celebs who have been living under our noses in Ireland? Ed Power reports.Celebs in plain sight: The A-Listers living under our noses in Ireland

More From The Irish Examiner