McIlroy's FedEx Cup hopes fade fast in Chicago

McIlroy's FedEx Cup hopes fade fast in Chicago”

Johnson won the first of the FedEx Cup play-off events - the Northern Trust - and sits third in the standings overall.

It's been a frustrating year for Lee who recorded four top-10 finishes in 2017, including third place at the Travelers Championship in CT in June.

Meanwhile, Brisbane native Cameron Smith is next best of the Australians at Conway Farms Golf Club, climbing to three-under through 13 holes while countryman and world No.9 Jason Day is a shot back as he makes the turn.

"I wouldn't say I feel old, but yeah, I'm the oldest, for sure", said Johnson, now third in the Cup standings ahead of Matsuyama and Rahm. "I made the opportunities that I gave myself and I'm happy with the start".

"When you play golf and all you're thinking about is making birdies it's a lot easier than trying to not make bogies".

Jordan Spieth, now number one in the FedEx Cup rankings, posted a 65 to join Keegan Bradley in the clubhouse as the Aussie's closest challengers but feels there is room for improvement.

Day, playing with longtime friend Luke Reardon on his bag, capped his back nine with a four-foot birdie at the par-five 18th to complete his seven-under 64.

Day says he'll draw from the positive memories of his six-shot victory at the BMW Championship in 2015, also played at Conway Farms that year.

"Everyone thinks I stink now", Bradley said.

"We all go through highs and lows in this game", Mickelson said. Jamie Lovemark also had a 64 with a little more style, drilling a fairway metal over the creek to 8 feet for eagle on the par-5 18th.

Rickie Fowler powered to a 65, stringing together six straight birdies from the 12th through the 17th to join British Open champion Spieth on six-under.

Brisbane native Cameron Smith is next best of the Australians at Conway Farms Golf Club, firing a 66 to share fifth at five-under alongside countryman Jason Day (through 15 holes), as well as five-time major victor Phil Mickelson and Russell Henley (both 66).

Marc entered the week No. 7 in the FedEx Cup standings, and a win this week would likely move him into the top five going to the Tour Championship next week.

Wold number one Dustin Johnson could only manage a level-par 71, while reigning FedEx Cup holder Rory McIlroy was one of only 14 players from the 69-man field to past an over-par score as he finished with a 72.

McIlroy is 51st in the FedEx Cup standings and needs to be in the top 30 to reach next week's Tour Championship, where the victor gets a $10m bonus.

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