A costly blunder spoiled what had the makings of a brilliant opening round for Rory McIlroy at the BMW Championship.
McIlroy suggested Wilmington Country Club could suit his game and for the majority of his round that proved to be the case.
But he made a triple bogey on the 15th hole to drop him to three-under, four behind leader Keegan Bradley.
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The Irishman had a point to prove in the second event of the FedEx Cup play-offs after missing the cut at TPC Southwind.
One week on, he produced some impressive play only to unpick the good work on 15.
He made an early statement by chipping in on the first for a birdie, after his approach went through the back of the green. Further birdies on three, five and seven saw him turn in 31.
McIlroy is one of the finest drivers in the game, but he was wayward on occasions. He scrambled when required, and when the driver was in tune - as was the case with a 387-yard tee shot on 14 - it led to a tap-in birdie.
After getting to six-under, McIlroy undid all the good work with a huge blunder on the 15th. On the par three, he attempted a fade - which is not his natural shot shape.
The ball did not turn as he anticipated and splashed into the water guarding the green on the left. Once he found dry ground, McIlroy three-putted in sloppy fashion for a triple bogey as he signed for a 68.

First Round Leaderboard

  • 1. Keegan Bradley, seven-under
  • 2. Adam Scott, six-under
  • T3. Harold Varner III, five-under
  • T3. Shane Lowry, five-under
  • T3. Justin Thomas, five-under
  • T6. Chez Reavie, four-under
  • T6. Collin Morikawa, four-under
  • T6. Xander Schauffele, four-under
  • T6. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, four-under
  • T6. Tyrrell Hatton, four-under
  • T6. Russell Henley, four-under
Bradley catapulted himself firmly into the mix for the FedEx Cup by shooting a 64 to sit at seven-under, one shot clear of the field.
Tony Finau’s red-hot run came to a halt on Thursday as he stumbled to a round of 77. The Utah man came into the event with two wins to his name in July, and had carded 13 rounds in a row in the 60s, but he struggled to get to grips with the Delaware track and his focus will likely shift to next week’s Tour Championship.
Defending champion Patrick Cantlay eased his way into contention with a round of 68 to sit at three-under.
Adam Scott began the week outside of the top 30 who make it through to next week at East Lake. His opening round of 65 lifted him firmly into the mix, while Harold Varner III boosted his chances with a 66 and Shane Lowry showed a welcome return to form to sit on the same score as the American.
Collin Morikawa is still seeking a first win since last year’s Open, and he produced a solid round of 67, while Justin Thomas is a shot better off at five-under.
Will Zalatoris entered the winners' circle for the first time in his career at the FedEx St Jude Championship last week. It was an emotional roller-coaster of a win in a play-off, and he looked a little jaded at the start of his round. His play improved through the day and he got to one-under after 18 holes, two behind playing partner and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler.
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