Matsuyama edges ahead in tough conditions at BMW Championship

By Sports Desk August 27, 2020

Hideki Matsuyama made two late birdies to grab a one-stroke lead after the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday.

The Japanese star mixed six birdies with three bogeys in tough conditions at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois to shoot a three-under 67.

Matsuyama was one of just three players to finish the opening round under par at the second FedEx Cup play-off event of the year.

The 28-year-old, whose last win came in 2017, was one over through nine holes before making four birdies on his back nine – the front nine of the course – including picking up shots at holes seven and nine.

American Tyler Duncan is outright second after his 68, while Mackenzie Hughes opened with a 69.

With conditions difficult for scoring, 10 players are tied for fourth at even par, with four-time major champion Rory McIlroy among them.

Former world number one McIlroy, the 2012 winner, had four birdies and four bogeys to be in contention for his first victory of 2020.

Harry Higgs, Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Lanto Griffin, Sebastian Munoz, Matt Fitzpatrick, Carlos Ortiz, Mark Hubbard and Abraham Ancer are also at even par.

Coming off his incredible 11-shot win at the Northern Trust, Dustin Johnson opened with a one-over 71 to be among a group tied for 14th.

Defending champion Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods fired opening-round 73s and endured similar struggles late.

After starting on the back nine, Thomas and Woods were both even with three holes to play, but finished with three consecutive bogeys.

US PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa and Jason Day both carded 76s, while 2017 winner Marc Leishman is last after shooting an 80.

Related items

  • Hatton in 'great position' as he surges past McIlroy Hatton in 'great position' as he surges past McIlroy

    Tyrrell Hatton acknowledged he had put himself in a great position for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship as he surged past overnight leader Rory McIlroy. 

    Round two will have to be completed on Saturday after bad light caused a suspension of play a day after fog had impacted the opening round. 

    But Englishman Hatton was an impressive five under par for the 13 holes he was able to play, surging on to 12 under for the tournament. 

    That gave him a five-shot advantage over a group of four players, including McIlroy, at the Rolex Series event. 

    Jason Scrivener, Jazz Janewattananond and Romain Langasque are with McIlroy at seven under. 

    "I'm obviously in a great position at the moment," said Hatton. "It was certainly tough out there, so I'm really happy to be five under [for the round]. 

    "I held some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts towards the end of my round - nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going. 

    "It [a long day on Saturday] will be fine. I'll just try and stay loose and see how we go."

    Hatton, with his short game thriving, eagled the second hole and then immediately gave one of those shots back at the third. 

    But four straight birdies between holes seven and 10 provided him with a commanding lead. 

    McIlroy had started the day with a one-shot advantage at eight under and quickly improved to 10 under through three holes. 

    However, the Northern Irishman fell apart from there with three bogeys and a double bogey in the 10 holes that followed before the suspension of play gave him some respite after 13. 

    Tommy Fleetwood was able to complete his round, an impressive five-under 67 moving him to within a shot of McIlroy as part of a five-man group sitting at six under. 

    World number three Justin Thomas, in the spotlight after a controversy over his use of a homophobic slur at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month, fared better than he did on day one. 

    The American was two under through 14 holes when play was brought to an end, improving to one under for the week but still 11 shots adrift of Hatton. 

    Reigning champion Lee Westwood is three under in a tie for 24th position.

  • Hagy grabs lead at The American Express Hagy grabs lead at The American Express

    Brandon Hagy carded an eight-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of The American Express on Thursday.

    Hagy made 10 birdies and two bogeys during his first round on the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course in California.

    The American sits a shot clear of Byeong Hun An, who fired a 65 on the same course.

    Hagy is in the lead through 18 holes for the second time in his PGA Tour career and first since the 2017 Canadian Open.

    Kim Si-woo produced the best round of players who started on the PGA West Stadium Course, his 66 – which featured an eagle at the fifth hole – seeing him sit tie for third.

    Martin Laird and Max Homa are alongside Kim, two shots adrift of Hagy.

    A group of nine players opened with 67s, including Charl Schwartzel and Alex Noren.

    Defending champion Andrew Landry, meanwhile, carded a two-under 70 on the Stadium Course to be back in a tie for 61st.

  • McIlroy hits the front as under-fire Thomas toils after Abu Dhabi fog delay McIlroy hits the front as under-fire Thomas toils after Abu Dhabi fog delay

    Rory McIlroy put his lowest-scoring round at the Abu Dhabi Championship down to precision putting as the four-time major winner shot a first-round 64.

    The Northern Irishman, paired with the under-fire Justin Thomas, had to be patient as play was delayed amid fog but he made up for lost time in eye-catching fashion.

    McIlroy closed day one on eight under, putting the 31-year-old a shot clear of Ryder Cup team-mate Tyrrell Hatton, with Fabrizio Zanotti a stroke further back.

    The delay meant not everyone managed to complete 18 holes, but McIlroy was pleased to be sitting pretty in the clubhouse. 

    "A lot of it was very good. I felt like I drove the ball well for the most part. Distance control was really good," McIlroy said of a display which saw him sink four birdies apiece on the front and back nine.

    "I think I started off really well and hit a lot of nice iron shots, but honestly it was probably the best I've putted these greens in Abu Dhabi probably in my whole career.

    "I've shot some really good scores here but I held some really good ones today.

    "And I've always struggled to read them here, but I sort of got my eye in early and kept it going."

    After becoming embroiled in recent controversy for his use of a homophobic slur, McIlroy's playing partner Thomas found himself well off the pace on one over.

    The American was dropped by sponsor Ralph Lauren following the incident, in which the world number three was heard making an offensive comment by a television microphone when playing at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.

    Thomas subsequently apologised for his "inexcusable" use of the slur.

    Reigning champion Lee Westwood carded a 69, putting him in a big group on three under, with English compatriot Justin Rose for company, though the Olympic champion managed only 11 holes.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.