FedExCup update: Bubble boy Rory McIlroy edges closer to TOUR Championship
August 26, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy's 287-yard approach close yields eagle at BMW Championship
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Rory McIlroy has positioned himself expertly in his chase for a record third FedExCup after the opening round of the BMW Championship.
McIlroy entered the penultimate FedExCup Playoff event at Caves Valley at 28th in the points list and in danger of missing out on a berth at East Lake for the TOUR Championship.
But the 2016 and 2019 champion put together a blistering 8-under 64 to join Jon Rahm and Sam Burns in the lead after Thursday’s opening round.
McIlroy currently projects to fourth in the standings should he go on and win the BMW Championship for a second time. It would also be a sixth FedExCup Playoff win and 20th PGA TOUR win.
With nothing but a high result good enough to keep his season alive the Northern Irishman says he’s got the foot on the accelerator this week despite talking of fatigue in the lead up.
“I'm in a position where I need to play well just to play next week. (So) there is an element of freewheeling,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy’s round featured seven birdies, but it was a brilliant eagle on the par-5 16th that catapulted him into a share of the lead. A week after ditching his 3-wood into bushes mid-round he smashed one from 287-yards to 11-feet and made the putt.
Caves Valley played right up McIlroy’s alley, as opposed to Liberty National last week. He missed just one fairway on his round.
“It lets you hit driver, first and foremost. I think there's a lot of courses we play nowadays where a lot of fairways pinch in at 300, 310. It doesn't allow the long hitters to hit driver a lot, last week being a pretty good example of that,” McIlroy added.
“Whenever you get a big golf course like this that allows the big hitters to hit driver, that's usually a big advantage. It's just nice to get driver in your hand and be able to feel like you can let it fly a bit.”
FedExCup Notes… Sergio Garcia’s impressive 7-under 65 has the veteran Spaniard just one off the lead and one of two players currently projected to jump inside the top 30 to make it to East Lake. Garcia projects from 44th to 26th… Keegan Bradley projects from 32nd to 28th after his opening round 67 had him T7 and just three off the lead… With two projected in that means two currently project out and those two with work to do are Charley Hoffman and Max Homa. Homa started in 30th but an even-par 72 has him T56 and in serious danger of missing out on the TOUR Championship. Hoffman’s 69 was good enough to sit T29 but he’ll need to improve over the final three days to ensure survival… FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson’s 67 has helped keep his title defense hopes alive. Johnson now projects from 22nd to 17th.
Sergio Garcia: 44th to 26th
Keegan Bradley: 32nd to 28th
Charley Hoffman: 29th to 31st
Max Homa: 30th to 33rd