Thomas shares lead at Medinah as Tiger, Spieth sit well back

By Sports Desk August 15, 2019

Justin Thomas carded an impressive seven-under 65 to take a share of the lead after the opening round of the BMW Championship on Thursday.

The 2017 US PGA Championship winner is atop the leaderboard alongside fellow American Jason Kokrak at Medinah Country Club, where the pair equalled the course record.

Thomas finished his day with seven birdies and no bogeys, while Kokrak dropped just one shot but added an eagle to finish his day in a tie for the lead.

A wrist injury saw Thomas struggle earlier this season, including missing the cut at the U.S. Open.

But he has been good as of late as he finished tied for 11th at The Open and in the top 12 or better in each of his past four tournaments.

"It's weird," he said, via the Golf Channel. "Yeah, I mean, it's been an odd season just because I've missed three tournaments. But the difference with this season and any other season is I'd won.

"I'm playing every bit as good as I have any other year this year, for sure."

Thomas is sitting pretty in getting to the Tour Championship at East Lake next week, starting 15th in the FedEx Cup standings and now projected to be top.

Kokrak needs a good performance after starting 32nd – with the top 30 progressing – and is now projected to be third.

A shot back of the leaders is a group of five – Jim Furyk, Joel Dahmen, Lucas Glover, Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Cantlay.

World number one Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm all opened with four-under 68s, a shot better than Rory McIlroy.

Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods need to climb the leaderboard to reach the Tour Championship.

Spieth carded a two-under 70, while Woods opened with a 71, the duo projected to be outside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup as things stand.

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    Jon Rahm made a remarkable recovery at Wentworth's 18th hole on Saturday to retain a share of the BMW PGA Championship lead alongside Danny Willett.

    An eagle at the last on Friday had seen Rahm join Willett at the top of the leaderboard through two rounds, but it appeared the same hole would prove his undoing 24 hours later.

    Rahm, leading by a single stroke heading to the par-five 18th, sent an awful drive towards the bushes and looked to be facing a first double-bogey of the week.

    The Spaniard's problems were compounded by Englishman Willett's proficiency at the same hole, lining up a birdie putt from four feet.

    Willett executed the putt to move to 15 under for the week, but Rahm, having made the green with his fourth shot, sank a stunning effort to save par.

    The duo held a three-shot joint-lead, with Indian Shubhankar Sharma having surged into contention with nine birdies before a bogey at the last left him on 12 under with a 66.

    Justin Rose also dropped a shot at the last to join Sharma, having made an eagle at the 17th, with Christiaan Bezuidenhout the third man at the same score.

    Elsewhere, Rory McIlroy had been made to work hard to make the cut on Friday following a dismal opening-round 76, but he was back on form as the weekend began.

    A fine 65 left the world number two on six under for the week, low enough to provoke a sliver of optimism that an unlikely title challenge might still be on the cards.

    McIlroy, who was hoping for Rahm and Willett to slump, told Sky Sports: "I've done what I can and shot a good score.

    "If I go out [on Sunday] and shoot something similar, I don't know if it's going to be quite good enough but at least I've given myself something to hope for. That's a nice thing."

    American Patrick Reed appeared to be in contention after signing for a 67 to reach nine under, while Italian Francesco Molinari was a shot further back.

    The 18th did not cause Englishman Ross Fisher as much trouble as it had others, as he achieved a brilliant albatross to finish his third round - earning a new BMW for the feat.

  • An fires another 66 to edge clear at Sanderson Farms Championship An fires another 66 to edge clear at Sanderson Farms Championship

    Byeong Hun An carded another six-under 66 to open up a two-stroke lead as the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship was suspended.

    The South Korean continued his fine start at the Country Club of Jackson on Friday, moving into 12 under after his second straight 66.

    An started his round with four consecutive birdies before finding water to bogey the par-five fifth.

    The 28-year-old recovered with back-to-back birdies at eight and nine before picking up another shot at the 17th.

    An holds a two-shot lead over J.T. Poston (70), George McNeill (67), Scottie Scheffler (66) and Tom Hoge (70).

    Hoge and Scheffler are coming off strong showings at the Greenbrier Classic, where they finished second and tied for seventh respectively.

    Inclement weather led to a delay on the opening day and darkness meant 57 players were unable to finish their second rounds.

    Cameron Percy is the best-placed of those yet to get through 36 holes, sitting at nine under through 11 and in outright sixth.

    Carlos Ortiz (71) and Harris English (71) are tied for seventh at eight under, alongside Seamus Power, who is through 11.

    Joaquin Niemann, the 20-year-old Chilean who won the Greenbrier Classic, is back at four under through 16 holes in his second round.

  • McIlroy scrambles to make Wentworth cut as Rahm, Willett lead McIlroy scrambles to make Wentworth cut as Rahm, Willett lead

    Rory McIlroy scraped into the weekend at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where Jon Rahm and Danny Willett claimed a share of the lead through 36 holes.

    McIlroy's first round had unravelled in spectacular fashion as he carded a four-over-par 76, leaving him with plenty of work to do when he headed back out onto the course on Friday.

    The world number two needed to get back to one over to make the cut but saw his early progress, with two birdies in four holes, checked by a bogey at the fifth.

    McIlroy was still two strokes shy of his target with five holes remaining but picked up shots at the par-three 14th and par-four 16th to get the job done.

    "I guess I played a bit better today - while still not quite feeling in sync with everything," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

    "I battled well, the conditions were a lot trickier out there today than they were yesterday [Thursday]. I definitely didn't think I was going to get into a position where I didn't need to birdie either of the [last two] holes coming in."

    McIlroy will still require a remarkable turnaround to have any hope of challenging leaders Rahm and Willett over the next two days, though.

    Rahm had already been in contention with a 66 on Thursday but started poorly with bogeys at the first and second.

    A fine recovery followed, with four birdies on the bounce, yet he was still two shots shy of Willett's clubhouse target of 11 under for the week until a superb eagle at the last.

    Willett might have been in an even stronger position, having been five under for the day through five and eight under through 12, signing for seven under as his form faltered on the way back.

    He acknowledged: "I'm probably not back to my best, and I'm still working on the moves and there's still shots in there that I don't like."

    Home hopeful Justin Rose is two shots back and is joined in a tie for third by Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Henrik Stenson, while Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed are both in the top 20.

    Matt Wallace had led overnight but collapsed completely with seven bogeys in a four-over round.

    Tommy Fleetwood, like McIlroy, came close to missing the cut, albeit in different fashion - carding a three-over 75 on a disappointing day.

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