By Zak Kozuchowski
GolfWRX Managing Editor
Lift, clean and place are code words on the PGA Tour for low scores, and Round 1 of the BMW Championship was no exception.
Graeme DeLaet, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson and Indiana-born Bo Van Pelt took advantage of Crooked Stick’s soft conditions and preferred lies with rounds of 8-under 64 that lead the way at Crooked Stick GC in Carmel, Ind.
Simpson and Van Pelt shot bogey-free rounds on Thursday, while McIroy, the winner of last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, erased his one bogey of the day with an eagle on the par-5 15th hole. DeLaet also made an eagle in Round 1 on the par-5 9th hole to erase a bogey on No. 16.
Trailing the leaders is McIlroy’s first-round playing partner, Tiger Woods, who chipped in for a birdie on the final hole to shoot 65. Vijay Singh is tied with Woods after a 65 of his own. Ryan Palmer is two shots back of the lead at 6-under with Ryan Moore and Luke Donald, while Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Robert Garrigus and Justin Rose are also in good shape at 5-under.
This week’s FedExCup event is especially important for Palmer, Singh, Ogilvie, Crane and Walker, as well as Ian Poulter, Jeff Ogilvie and Graeme McDowell, who were 4-under in Round 1. Despite their strong performances on Thursday, they are all still projected to finish outside the top 30 in the FedExCup points list, meaning they would not advance to the final stage of the Playoffs, the Tour Championship at East Lake GC in Atlanta, Ga., next week.
Tee times for Round 2 have been moved up to 8 a.m. EST on Friday because of the change of severe thunderstorms. The featured group of McIlroy, Woods and Watney goes off at 9:39 a.m., and the last tee time scheduled for 10:01 a.m.
Television coverage airs tomorrow on Golf Channel from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST, and replays from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.