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Rory McIlroy leads, 5 things we learned Thursday at BMW Championship

Rory McIlroy leads, 5 things we learned Thursday at BMW Championship

Sahith Theegala entered the week No. 31 on the points list, just one spot away from qualifying for the Tour Championship. Matt Fitzpatrick is even farther back at No. 40 in the FedEx Cup standings.

Needing strong finishes this week, the pair got into contention early after each shot opening rounds of 4-under 66 on Thursday and briefly held the clubhouse lead before McIlroy and Harman.

“Man, I hit it really, really well. Probably one of my best ball-striking rounds on Tour,” said Theegala. “Had a bunch of really good looks that I hit good putts and just didn’t go in. But that’s golf.”

If the results hold, Theegala and Fitzpatrick would each vault all the way into the top 10 of the standings, safely inside the cut for next week’s season finale at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

“Yeah, I think it’s impossible to ignore,” said Theegala of the FedEx Cup standings projections and updates. “I think everyone would be lying if they didn’t know exactly where they stood and — not exactly but somewhat of an idea what it’s going to take to get to next week.”

“I’m definitely paying attention to it but not sweating it too much.”

Across 21 events Fitzpatrick has a win at the RBC Heritage and just four top 10s, which makes for a down year by his lofty standards. Off the tee Fitzpatrick ranks 118th in total driving and 141st in accuracy, down from 15th and 51st, respectfully, last season.

“I wouldn’t say it fell off. I would just say overall my driving has not been where I want it. Not hitting enough fairways, and you just can’t do that out here,” said Fitzpatrick. “For me who’s always been relying on good driving and been a strength of my game hitting fairways to not, it just makes it difficult.”

That said, Fitzpatrick fancies his chances when the going gets tough on Tour, and he showed that the last time the BMW was at Olympia Fields in 2020 with a T-6 finish at even par.

“Yeah, I think it’s a great layout. I think it’s a great design. I think it’s a tough golf course,” he explained. “Obviously the rough is up if you miss the fairway, so there’s a premium on that. If the weather stays like this, windy, dry, gets hot, I think it’ll probably get back to where you were in 2020. Hopefully it gets that…


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