RORY McILROY evaded the hurricane threatening to hit America’s eastern seaboard and shot an encouraging first round of 64 in the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston last night.
Play on the opening day of the second FedEx Cup play-off event was delayed for more than an hour as lightning and heavy rain in advance of the expected arrival of Hurricane Earl hit the Massachusetts course. But not before Ireland’s McIlroy had a shot a seven-under-par round with lift, clean and place rules in effect.
That left the 21-year-old one shot off the early clubhouse lead held by Australian Jason Day and US Ryder Cup wild card hopeful Zach Johnson in a tie with several players including Hunter Mahan.
McIlroy got to seven under in style, with an eagle three at the last.
“I didn't hit a great drive. I sort of skied my three wood a little bit and was lucky it ended up short of the bunker on the right,” McIlroy said. “I had 245 (yards) to the pin and just hit a really nice five-wood in there to 25 feet behind the hole and just sort of let the putt feed down, and if it went in, it went in, and it dropped in. A nice way to finish the round.”
McIlroy was also pleased to have missed the incoming bad weather.
“We got a nice draw. It was perfect. I can go in now and put my feet up and watch a bit of the US Open tennis. My rugby team (Ulster) back home are playing in two hours, as well, so I'm going to try and catch that on the sling box and just try and have a nice afternoon.”
Meanwhile Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez produced the lowest round of his 27-year European Tour career in Switzerland yesterday.
Two eagles and six birdies gave the 46-year-old Ryder Cup star a 10 under par 61 in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre and he goes into the weekend with a three-stroke lead.
Jimenez, making his 22nd successive visit to the Alpine resort, had a chance of the Tour’s first-ever 59 when he reached the 16th tee needing two more birdies.
But the Spaniard, who has had 10 of his 17 victories on the circuit since turning 40, had to be content with parring all three remaining holes for a 14 under halfway total of 128.
More good news for Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie was that Italian Edoardo Molinari, the only other member of his side playing in the event, lies joint second with 17-year-old compatriot Matteo Manassero.
Molinari, handed a wild card after his win in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles last Sunday, added a 65 to his opening 66.
First round leader Manassero, trying to become the Tour’s youngest-ever winner in only his sixth event as a professional, chipped in for eagle at the long 15th in his 67.
Manassero, last year’s British amateur champion, turned professional only in May at the Italian Open and probably needs a top-five finish to avoid the qualifying school at the end of the season.
This is the sixth of seven invitations he is allowed. The other comes at the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland next month.
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