BMW Championship: Several Europeans Struggle in Opening Round at Conway Farms
The first round of the BMW Championship proved to be a difficult one for several of the PGA Tour pros from across the pond. The three most notable golfers in that category to struggle were Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter – none of whom finished under par on a day that often rewarded aggressive play. If these three don’t get moving in the right direction – and quickly – they could realistically all fail to qualify for the TOUR Championship next week. The good news is that since there are only 70 players in this event, there is no cut this week.
The best thing to happen during Westwood’s round was that it ended. Currently ranked 30th in the FedEx Cup standings and very much on the bubble, Westwood carded a nine over par 80 in the first round. The only player in the field with a worse score in the first round was Scott Piercy, who was 10 over par. Apparently he has been struggling with some back, neck and rib injuries and has had difficulty adjusting his swing to account for the stiffness in those areas. “I’m in pain,” he said when speaking to reporters after his round. “I feel sick.”
At least Westwood has an excuse for his poor play. McIlroy, seemingly injury-free, only managed two birdies in his round en route to shooting a seven over par 78 on Thursday. In addition to the two birdies, McIlroy’s card showed a triple bogey, a double bogey and four bogeys. He entered the week ranked 41st in the standings and in need of a solid outing to crack the top 30. After his first round performance he is currently projected to drop to 54th position.
Poults didn’t fare quite as badly as Westwood and McIlroy, but he still struggled in the first round. In a relatively quiet first round, Poulter managed 14 pars. The problem was that he only carded one birdie in addition to three bogeys. He is currently two over par and 10 shots off of Brandt Snedeker’s pace. Who knows, maybe the drama surrounding his comments about fans who scream after players hit their shots is wreaking havoc on his psyche. As it stands right now, he is projected to drop from 52nd to the 58th in the standings.
These three guys are going to have to have to get out of the gates quickly tomorrow if they want to have any hope of getting into position to advance to the final leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.