Patrick Reed and Martin Laird of Scotland are tied for the first-round lead at the Barclays, the opening event of the FedEx Cup playoffs, each shooting bogey-free 5-under 66s at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York, this morning.
Reed, currently ranked eighth in US Ryder Cup points, is looking for a strong performance in a bid to qualify for the team on points. Laird, meanwhile, is just looking for his first win since 2013.
“Of course it’s [the Ryder Cup] on my mind,” Reed said. “But really at the end of the day, it’s just trying to get better and play this tournament. Because if I play well, that means those other guys are going to have to play even better to try to catch me.”
Rickie Fowler, also seeking a late run for Ryder Cup points, shot a 4-under 67. He is tied for third with Emiliano Grillo, J.B. Holmes and Kevin Chappell.
Jason Day, the favourite to win the FedEx Cup, shot a 3-under 68. He is tied with Jonas Blixt, Jhonattan Vegas and Sung Kang for seventh place. Fellow Aussie Adam Scott is sitting nicely at 2-under.
Rory McIlroy struggled to an even-par 72, tying with reigning FedEx Cup winner Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson, five strokes off the lead.
Justin Rose, the Olympic gold medallist, shot a 2-over 73, while silver medallist and British Open champion Henrik Stenson shot a 3-over 74. Stenson would later withdraw, citing a knee injury.