McIlroy off to the races again
He’s in four-waytie for BMW lead
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy seem to be spending a lot of time together lately. That includes the top of a busy leaderboard at the BMW Championship at Carmel, Ind.
The biggest star in golf and his heir apparent put on a dazzling show Thursday at Crooked Stick, where the gallery caught a glimpse of the best players in the world for the first time since the 1991 PGA Championship.
McIlroy, flawless with his irons, birdied his last two holes for an 8-under-par 64 and was part of a four-way tie for the lead with Indiana native Bo Van Pelt, US Open champion Webb Simpson and Graham DeLaet, the Canadian who is quietly becoming the Cinderella of these FedEx Cup playoffs.
Just three days after McIlroy won the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, he looked just as impressive in the opening round at Crooked Stick.
‘‘He hits it great, putts it great, and on top of that, he’s just a really nice kid,’’ Woods said in some of his strongest praise ever for another player. ‘‘The game of golf is in great hands with him, and he’s here to stay.’’
Woods, who finished two shots behind McIlroy Monday in Norton, isn’t going away quietly. He was only sharp when it came to scoring, making enough birdies to stay in the game, including a 30-foot chip-in on his last hole for a 65.
Vijay Singh had a chance to join the leaders until he drove into the water on the 18th hole, though he escaped with par and was at 65. Luke Donald was in the group at 66. Phil Mickelson was at 69, worth noting because it looked as though he might quadruple bogey on his last hole. Instead, he made birdie.
His second shot from the fairway on the par-5 ninth sailed toward the corporate tents, and Mickelson feared it was out of bounds. He hit a provisional that went onto the driving range, which definitely was out of bounds.
Before he could hit again, Mickelson discovered the first one was in play. He had a clear enough shot at the green, and he hasn’t lost his magic with the short game — his wedge settled 2 feet away for a birdie.
‘‘I got lucky,’’ Mickelson said.
LPGA — Jiyai Shin weathered a two-hour weather delay and shot a 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the Kingsmill Championship at Williamsburg, Va.
With 33 players still on the course when play was halted by darkness, the 24-year-old South Korean was two shots ahead of the field.
Her round, a tournament record, matched the lowest on tour this season, and eclipsed the previous mark of 63, shared by seven players.
European — Graeme Storm shot a course-record 7-under 63 to lead the KLM Open at Hilversum, Netherlands, by two shots in the opening round.
Massachusetts Mid-Amateur — Frank Vana Jr. of Marlborough CC captured his record eighth Mass. Mid-Am title, edging Mike Dunham of Concord CC and Brian Higgins of Franklin CC by one shot.