Case of the good and the bad for Rory McIlroy in Barclays
Ulsterman shoots level par 71, with Graeme McDowell level through 17 holes
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy reacts to a wayward tee shot on the 15th hole during the first round of the Barclays.
The unpredictability of the weather was matched by Rory McIlroy in yesterday’s first round of the Barclays championship, the start of the US Tour’s season-ending run-in to the biggest financial prize in golf.
The 24-year-old Ulsterman – twice called in from the course due to thunderstorms in the New York area – shot a rollercoaster round of level par 71.
McIlroy, the world number three but without a win on tour so far this season, produced the good with the bad in fashioning a 71 that contained an eagle and four birdies alongside three ugly double-bogeys. The inconsistency provided a microcosm of his season to date, as he undid some good work with sloppy mistakes.
American Ryan Palmer shot an opening round of six-under-par 65 to assume the clubhouse lead alongside Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who has finished 2nd-2nd-3rd in his last three outings on tour (the British Open, the Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA).
The Barclays is the first of the four FedEx Cup playoffs which also take in the Deutsche Bank, the BMW and the Tour Championship with a $10 million bonus to the player who finishes on top of the standings.
Good and bad
For McIlroy, it was a case of the good and the bad. The 24-year-old Northern Irishman suffered a terrible double-bogey six on the par 4 15th where he drove left into wasteland and then put his approach into a bunker short of the green where he could only play out sideways to the opposite side of the fairway.
He failed to get up and down, running up a double bogey.
McIlroy, though, bounced back with a birdie on the drivable short par 4 16th where he drove to within 20 yards of the putting surface and pitched to 10 inches for a tap-in. He also birdied the 13th, where he rolled in a five-footer. He was level par through nine holes when the second weather delay – this one lasted almost 3½ hours – came.
On his return, McIlroy immediately birdied the first hole to dip under par only to suffer his second double-bogey of his round on the par 4 fifth, where he pulled his approach shot from 162 yards into the pond to the left of the green.
Again, he bounced back well: on the sixth, he hit a 195-yard approach to 15 feet and rolled in the putt for an eagle three and then sank a 30-footer for birdie on the seventh.
However, McIlroy’s topsy-turvy round finished with another double bogey six on the ninth, where his tee shot hit a cart path and bounced over the fence and out-of-bounds.
Graeme McDowell started his round with a bogey on the first – following a pushed drive into the intermediate rough – and then suffered another bogey on the fifth, again caused by a pushed tee shot.
However, he rolled in a birdie on the sixth for some damage limitation before the siren sounded for a second time in the day.
He returned to the course for a third time, after two weather interruptions, to be level par through 17 holes.