Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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McIlroy in sight of lead in Chicago

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama celebrates after making a monster putt on his last hole
-3 H Matsuyama (Jpn); -2 T Duncan (US); -1 M Hughes (Can); E H Higgs (US), T Finau (US), B Horschel (US), L Griffin (US), S Munoz (Col), M Hubbard (US), R McIlroy (NI), A Ancer (Mex)
Selected others:+1 D Johnson; +3 T Woods (US), P Casey (Eng), J Thomas (US), B DeChambeau (US), T Hatton (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick are three strokes behind leader Hideki Matsuyama after the BMW Championship first round.

McIlroy’s round featured a mixture of four birdies and four bogeys as he battled his way to a level-par 70.

Fitzpatrick recorded a double bogey on his penultimate hole to also post 70.

Only three players shot under par at Olympia Fields and Japan’s Matsuyama leads by one after holing a 67-foot birdie putt at his last to card a 67.

American Tyler Duncan is second on two under and Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes is third on one under in Chicago.

Four-time major winner McIlroy, who has yet register a top-10 finish since golf returned in June, said: “I said last week if you need someone to shoot between like even par and two under, I’m your man.

“So I’m loving these conditions. It’s sort of weird. The way my game feels at the minute, it’s just as easy for me to shoot even par here as it was last week in Boston, for whatever reason that is.

“But this is proper golf. You’ve really got to think about stuff. It’s nice to play a round of golf like that again.”

New world number one Dustin Johnson is on one over, while fellow American Tiger Woods, winner of 15 majors, is a further two shots behind.

The 44-year-old was a steady one under after six holes but three successive bogeys midway through his round undid his good work and he eventually finished with a 73. England’s Paul Casey, tied second at the PGA Championship, is also on three over.

The tournament began on schedule despite postponements in other US sports to protest against racial injustices in the wake of the police shooting in Wisconsin of African-American Jacob Blake.

American golfer Cameron Champ – who has a black father and white mother – wore one black and one white shoe. On the white shoe he had written “Jacob Blake BLM”.

The BMW Championship is the second of three events in the US circuit’s FedEx Cup play-offs that will determine the PGA Tour champion for this season.

The top 70 players in the season’s points rankings are taking part in the BMW Championship, which will decide the 30 players to compete in next month’s season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.

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