Golf: Matsuyama 4 shots off leaders Woods, McIlroy after BMW 1st round

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama shot a 4-under 66 in the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday to sit four strokes behind co-leaders Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

In the third FedEx Cup playoff event, being played at the Aronimink Golf Club, Matsuyama carded five birdies and one bogey for a share of 12th place, while Woods had his lowest opening-round score since 1999 and McIlroy made a push to join him atop the leaderboard at 8-under.

American Xander Schauffele finished the day with sole ownership of third at 7-under, with four others tied for fourth a further shot back.

«My tee shots were okay on the first few holes but then they just went berserk,» said Matsuyama, who left midway through the pro-am event a day earlier due to illness.

«I got lucky with some of my long putts that found their way into the hole and with some (short putts) that dropped just when I needed to find my rhythm. Not bad for a first day,» he said.

The 26-year-old Japanese struggled to keep the ball in the fairway but nevertheless maintained a blemish-free front nine. After three-putting for bogey on the par-4 11th, he pulled back a shot by rolling in a 16-foot birdie on 17.

Matsuyama, who is currently 28th on the FedEx Cup points list, needs to remain in the top 30 at the end of the Sept. 6-9 BMW Championship to advance to the Tour Championship, where the season’s overall champion will be crowned.

The FedEx Cup Playoffs started with the 125-player Aug. 23-36 Northern Trust. The field for the FedEx Cup will be trimmed from 70 to 30 after the BMW Championship.

The top 30 will then play in the Tour Championship on Sept. 20 to 23 at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.

All — Kyodo News+

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