Friday, September 3, 2010

McIlroy & Davis in hunt in Boston

First round leaderboard:
-8 J Day (Aus), Z Johnson (US) Selected others: -7 R McIlroy (NI), B Davis (Eng) -6 S Stricker (US), L Donald (Eng) -5 P Casey (Eng), M Laird (Sco) -4 I Poulter (Eng) -2 P Mickelson (US) -1 J Rose (Eng) +1 T Woods (US) +3 P Harrington (Ire)

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy finished joint third at the USPGA Championship

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and England's Brian Davis are one shot off the lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship after first-round 64s.

Australian Jason Day and American Zach Johnson are joint leaders after carding eight-under-par 63s in Boston.

England's Luke Donald carded a 65 and compatriot Paul Casey a 66.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who was handed a wildcard for the European Ryder Cup team ahead of Casey, carded a 74 and looks set to miss the cut.

World number one Tiger Woods looks set to join him after labouring to an opening 72.

While world number eight Casey recovered from the disappointment of not being handed a wildcard by European captain Colin Mongomerie by firing six birdies, three-time major winner Harrington made two double-bogeys and two bogeys to finish second from last.

If Harrington misses out on the final two days and Casey manages a to finish high on the leaderboard, Montgomerie's judgement is sure to be called into question.


However, Montgomerie will be heartened by the form of 21-year-old McIlroy, who finished third at the USPGA and returned five birdies and an eagle at the last.

With United States Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin set to name his four wildcards on Tuesday, world number 17 Johnson strengthened his case by rolling in putts from everywhere in easy scoring conditions prior to the arrival of Hurricane Earl.

Woods, who is also relying on a wildcard from Pavin, had two bogeys in four holes when the first patch of rain arrived and it did not get much better, the 14-time major winner making two more bogeys to leave him three shots below the projected cut.

Woods finished ahead of only five players in the 99-man field at the tournament at Boston TPC, the second instalment in the lucrative FedExCup play-off series.

Currently ranked 65th in the FedExCup standings, Woods needs to be in the top 70 after the Deutsche Bank Championship to advance to the third round of the series, next week's BMW Championship at Cog Hill near Chicago.

"I just didn't have it today," he said. "I wasn't really doing what I was supposed to be doing swing-wise and wasn't releasing the putter blade. It was a bad day all around."

Johnson is already assured of a place in the third round of the FedExCup play-off series making him a good bet to make Pavin's 12-man team for the Ryder Cup in Wales in October.

"It would be an honour, and I want to get on that team very, very bad," said Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion.

"But you can justify the case for a number of guys. I'm not concerned about it. I'm going to let things fall where they fall. I feel like if I keep performing decent, then I'll have a pretty good chance."

Phil Mickelson, who can replace Woods as world number one with a good enough finish, carded a 69, while Steve Stricker, who could also grab top spot if he were to win, made 65.

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