McIlroy struggles in opening round at The Barclays
By Larry Fine
PARAMUS New Jersey (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy's bid for a career first FedExCup title got off to a rocky start on Thursday as he shot a three-over par 74 in the first round at The Barclays, the opening tournament of the four-event playoffs.
The Northern Irishman, ranked first in the world and first in the FedExCup standings after winning the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship in succession, trails the leading trio in the clubhouse by eight strokes.
Americans Cameron Tringale, Hunter Mahan and Charles Howell III, all shot five-under rounds of 66 at Ridgewood Country Club to share the clubhouse lead.
The 25-year-old McIlroy blamed his poor play on a lack of preparation and not on fatigue despite taking time to celebrate his blistering run and attending to added business commitments.
"I think it's more to do with just not putting the adequate time into my game over the past week for obvious reasons," he told reporters.
"So I'm going to grab a bite to eat here and go to the range this afternoon and work on a few things and really catch up on some practice that I probably missed out on over the past week."
McIlroy, starting on the back nine, made a double-bogey and two bogeys before the turn and a birdie on the par-4 fifth hole was canceled out by another bogey on his penultimate hole - the eighth.
He slightly limited the damage by finishing his round with a birdie on the ninth hole to end at three-over - his first over-par round in competition since the final round of the U.S. Open back in June. Continued...