Rory McIlroy’s quest to defend his Tour Championship title next week hardly got out of first gear gear on day one of the BMW Championship in Chicago.
After a horror double bogey ‘6’ to start his round McIlroy trudged off just short of five hours later ending with a ‘6’ for a very hapless one over par 72. on the Conway Farms layout.
McIlroy trails 10 shots behind in-form Aussie Marc Leishmam who posted a nine under par 62 to lead the 70-player field by two shots.
McIlroy teed-up in the Windy City looking to storm his way into the top-30 by the end of the $8.75m event to be assured of defending next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.
But once again there was little wind in McIlroy’s sails as he returned to competition for a first time since missing the halfway cut in Boston.
After the double at the first where his second shot from a fairway bunker flew the green by nearly 40-yards, McIlroy bounced back with birdies at the third, seventh and eighth holes.
The best of those three outward nine birdies was at the par four third where the real McIlroy stepped forward to land a 126-yard second shot to just two feet.
McIlroy made the turn after dropping a shot at the ninth before holing a superb nine-footer at the 10th to get back into the red at one-under par.
But those season-long gremlins returned when he missed the fairway left at 12 to take bogey and while McIlroy managed a regulation birdie at the par five he gave the shot straight back when he found the water left of the green at the par three, 13th.
The World No.6 left the course sadly ending his round as he had started and with a ‘6’ after three-putting the last for a bogey.
And his quest to move onto Atlanta for the Tour Championship looked far from encouraging with McIlroy projected to drop from 51st to 58th ahead of his second round.