McIlroy, Burns, Rahm Share Day-One Lead at BMW Championship

Rory McIlroy BMW Championship
Rory McIlroy stands on the 15th green during the first round of the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club on Aug 26, 2021 in Owings Mills, MD. (Photo by Ben Jared / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy, Sam Burns and Jon Rahm opened with 64s on Thursday at Caves Valley Golf Club and will enter the second round of the BMW Championship with a share of the lead on 8-under par.

McIlroy signed for a scorecard featuring seven birdies and an eagle against just one bogey to secure a share of the day-one lead.

The Northern Irishman cited his improved play on the closing par-5s for the key to his low round.

“Yeah, especially the way I’ve been playing the par-5s,” said McIlroy. “I played the par-5s very poorly the last few weeks. Even the front nine today, not making birdie on either of the par-5s on the front side, I was sort of thinking, here we go again. It was nice to play the par-5s better on the back.”

Burns’ 64 was immaculate which included eight birdies, highlighted by four early gains on Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 7, then four in a row on 11, 12, 13 and 14 to reach the top of the leaderboard.

“Yeah, I think I’ve said this before, we had a good plan coming into today,” said Burns. “Travis [his caddie] and I talked about it. Really just it was nice being able to touch it in the fairway and then just trying to put it in the right spot on the green.

“I think that’s the biggest thing around this place is the greens are big but you can have 20 feet and still have it breaking six feet, so trying to avoid those areas, give ourselves the easiest putt, and we were able to make them.”

Rahm, the defending champion, also carded a bogey-free 64, which included five birdies in a seven-hole span (Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8), then three more on his closing nine to reach the top of the board on 8 under.

“Had a great ball-striking day and made a couple of good putts early on and had it going early and continued the mojo throughout the day,” said Rahm.

“I think not huge numbers of bogeys can happen easily. Rough is thick, long holes, you can make a bad swing and have a tough one for par like, for example, Tony did on 13. It’s not like he really missed a shot, but he had pretty much an impossible up-and-down. If you manage it well and hit it as well as I did today, you can post a low one.”

Sergio Garcia was alone in fourth after a bogey-free 7-under 65, one clear of Abraham Ancer and Patrick Cantlay who were tied for fifth on 6 under.

One further back was a 12-player logjam at 5 under, including headliners Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau and Hideki Matsuyama.

2021 BMW Championship

Leaderboard: Top-10

Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 1)
1. Sam Burns -8 (64)
1. Jon Rahm -8 (64)
1. Rory McIlroy -8 (64)
4. Sergio Garcia -7 (65)
5. Abraham Ancer -6 (66)
5. Patrick Cantlay -6 (66)
7. 12 Players Tied -5 (67)


Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 1)
7. Webb Simpson -5 (67)
7. Dustin Johnson -5 (67)
7. Xander Schauffele -5 (67)
7. Tony Finau -5 (67)
7. Hideki Matsuyama -5 (67)
7. Sungjae Im -5 (67)
19. Daniel Berger -4 (68)
19. Joaquin Niemann -4 (68)
19. Cameron Smith -4 (68)
19. Phil Mickelson -4 (68)
19. Paul Casey -4 (68)
19. Justin Thomas -4 (68)
19. Bryson DeChambeau -4 (68)
29. Harris English -3 (69)
43. Viktor Hovland -2 (70)
43. Brooks Koepka -2 (70)
47. Shane Lowry -1 (71)
47. Jordan Spieth -1 (71)
47. Lee Westwood -1 (71)
56. Collin Morikawa E (72)
56. Kevin Kisner E (72)
63. Scottie Scheffler +1 (73)

Material from PGA Tour Media & Communications was used to compile report.


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