BMW Championship: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Sam Burns share three-way lead in ‘brutal’ BMW Championship


“The happiest animal in the world is a goldfish. You know why? It has a memory of 10 seconds,” Rahm said, quoting a line from the popular “Ted Lasso” series.

“I played great golf last week, just a few bad shots on the stretch, and that’s the most important thing to remember.”

The world No.1 was speaking after his opening round at the BMW Championship on Thursday, where he finished tied for the top of the standings with Rory McIlroy and American Sam Burns.

The two European Ryder Cup teammates and Burns carded eight Under-64s at Caves Valley Golf Club in Baltimore, Md., To share the lead in the second round of the FedExCup Playoffs that will determine the PGA champion of the season. Tour on September 5.

An eagle on the 16th par five for McIlroy propelled him up the standings and into a share of the lead. The Northern Irishman is 28th in the FedExCup rankings, with only the top 30 making it to the season finale – the Tour Championship – next week.

“I’ve been through playoffs where you’re still in that top group. You’re either 1, 2, or 3 in FedExCup, and that can kind of have a mental impact,” he said. “I’m in a position where I have to play well just to play next week. There is an element of freewheeling.”

Rahm and Burns both won bogey-less rounds on Thursday, and with both scheduled for East Lake next week for the circuit championship, maintaining their good form is paramount.

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McIlroy watches the first green in the first round of the BMW Championship.

“It was brutal there today”

For US Open champion Rahm, his first round continues his hot form. According to the PGA Tour, this was the 15th time of his last 17 laps that he had shot in the 60s.

While Rahm’s clubs remained on fire, it wasn’t the hottest thing in Caves Valley on Thursday.

Temperatures were consistently around 90 degrees and coupled with high humidity and elevation changes, conditions proved difficult for the players.

Cameron Smith, the Australian who finished second after a playoff with Tony Finau at the Northern Trust last week, explained that the speed at which he was walking was something on his mind in Thursday’s round due to the “brutal” conditions.

“We were probably walking a little slower than we usually do and trying to find a lot of shade… it was brutal today,” said Smith after turning 68. “These are probably four or five holes, you happen to be and you start thinking, ‘When is this going to end?” You just have to be smart about it.

“I’m from Queensland where it’s hot so I don’t really mind, it just takes a lot. So now I’m looking forward to a quick massage, then a cold shower and a few cold beers.”

Rahm thanked the fact that he had a one-month hiatus imposed by Covid after the 2020 Olympics for maintaining his energy levels.

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Rahm hits a shot off the first tee in the first round of the BMW Championship.
“These guys who went to the Olympics and played in Memphis and played more events than me may be a little more tired, but really that shouldn’t be an excuse in my case,” he said. .

“Tuesday when I got to the course I didn’t overdo it. I didn’t even venture onto the golf course because I knew it was a tough walk. I just hit a few. balls, some putting and shredding and went home.

“On days like this, what I really prioritize is hydration. If you’re dehydrated in the middle, it’s going to affect you over the next few weeks.”

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