Rory McIlroy hits disastrous triple bogey to spoil card but still in contention along with Shane Lowry at BMW Championship

Shane Lowry produced his lowest opening round since April as he chases BMW Championship victory and a chance to capture the $17 million FedEx Cup bonanza.

e was frustrated to finish a great day with a three-putt bogey at the last in the penultimate Playoff event to sit two shots off the lead of Keegan Bradley in tied third. However, Lowry’s late round frustration was put into perspective by Rory McIlroy’s disastrous 15th hole as he found water off the tee before signing for triple bogey six. McIlroy had been one off the lead on six under at the time but finished with a three-under 68.

At 37th in the standings, Lowry needs a big week to make the top-30 who contest next week’s season-ending Tour Championship and his five-under 66 gives him a great platform to make it to the East Lake finale in Atlanta.

“I’m pretty happy,” said Lowry, who birdied the fourth, 10th and 12th, drained an outrageous 57-footer for eagle at the 14th, then stiffed his approach to the 17th before three-putting the last from 55 feet.

“Obviously a smelly finish, and lunch is not going to taste as nice after that. But I feel like over the last month or so I’ve been struggling to get off to good starts in tournaments. It was nice to shoot five-under today and get myself in the tournament pretty quickly. Hopefully I can go out and keep playing the golf I am and give myself a chance.”

Lowry played alongside 36th-ranked Séamus Power, who was three-over for the day after dropping four shots in a four-hole stretch around the turn before rallying with birdies at the 12th, 15th and 16th for a level-par 71 that left him tied 39th.

Lowry was tied third in the clubhouse with Harold Varner and Justin Thomas, with Bradley leading by one from Adam Scott after a seven-under 64.

McIlroy was the only player from the afternoon who looked to challenge the leader, and he was doing just that at -6 with four holes to play. But then he was between clubs on the par-3 15th, tried to hit a soft cut with a 5-iron and put his tee shot into he water. He took three putts from just short of the green, missing a 3-footer, and made triple bogey.

McIlroy was in the group at 68 that included Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, who won the BMW Championship last year an hour down the road at Caves Valley on his way to capturing the FedEx Cup.

McIlroy was able to accept one bad swing that cost him three shots, especially having missed the cut last week in the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

“Overall the rest of it was pretty good,” he said. “I knew once I got here last weekend, I knew it was a golf course that was going to suit me better than last week. … Pleased with my game. Disappointed with how I finished, but encouraged with the rest of it.”

While Power was projected to fall to 43rd in the FedEx Cup list, Lowry would move up to 21st if he ties for third but he’s looking for more. “I’d love to get to East Lake, but I also want to get to East Lake with a chance to do something special,” Lowry said. “So I need a really good finish this week and hopefully that will put me not too far off the leader going into next week, and then you never know what could happen.”

In the D+D Real Czech Masters in Prague, David Carey, Cormac Sharvin and Gavin Moynihan opened with one-under 71s to share 55th at Albatross Golf Resort, seven shots behind South Africa’s Louis de Jager, whose eight-under 64 gave him a one-shot lead over Thomas Pieters as Paul Dunne shot 76.

At the Challenge Tour’s Dormy Open in Sweden, The Island’s Paul McBride chipped in from 25 yards for an eagle-two to card a five-under 67 and share fifth place, just three shots behind Finland’s Lauri Ruuska.

Kinsale’s John Murphy, 29th in the race for 20 DP World Tour cards, and 34th-ranked Ruaidhri McGee were tied-73rd after level-par 72s.

Meanwhile, Laytown and Bettystown’s Cian Geraghty opened with a five-under 67 to lead the 112th Irish PGA Championship by two shots from Brian McElhinney, Richard Weldon and Neil O’Briain at Carne Golf Links’ Wild Atlantic Dunes course.

In Donegal, Paul McGinley was in a five-way tie for second, just a shot behind leader Steen Tinning of Denmark, after a two-under 69 in the Irish Legends presented by McGinley Foundation at the Old Tom Morris Links.

BMW Championship,

Live, Sky Sports, 5.0pm

Czech Masters,

Live, Sky Sports, 12.0

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