FedEx St Jude Championship: Rory McIlroy falls off the pace with Si Woo Kim and JJ Spaun sharing the lead | Golf News

Si Woo Kim and JJ Spaun kicked off the FedEx Cup Playoffs in style, shooting matching eight-under 62s to share the first-round lead on Thursday at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis; Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy fell behind with an even-par 70

Last Updated: 12/08/22 7:42am

Highlights of day one of the FedEx St Jude Championship from TPC Southwind in Memphis

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Highlights of day one of the FedEx St Jude Championship from TPC Southwind in Memphis

Highlights of day one of the FedEx St Jude Championship from TPC Southwind in Memphis

Two-time FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy fell eight strokes off the pace as Si Woo Kim carded an eight-under 62 to snatch a share of the lead with JJ Spaun.

South Korean Kim admitted to being “excited” to pull off a “perfect” shot, after he holed out from 167 yards on the par-four 18th to cap a strong finish of six-under on his last six holes, the first of three play-off events.

“I was just trying to, like, (see) 10 feet on left side and it was (a) perfect shot, (it) came off,” he told reporters.

“Yeah, I was excited,” he added.

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His American co-leader, meanwhile, had eight birdies at TPC Southwind in Memphis as he said it was “hot out here”.

“I’m hot, figuratively and literally, I guess. It’s hot out here,” Spaun told reporters.

“I think I putted really well and I drove it really well. I guess I hit 15 out of 18 greens, so that’s a pretty good combo. When you’re hitting a lot of greens and putting well and hitting fairways, it’s hard to complain about how I played today.”

Spaun’s compatriot Sahith Theegala was at seven-under followed by a group of four including Tony Finau a further shot back, while England’s Tyrrell Hatton was at five-under.

Northern Irishman McIlroy carded an even-par 70, along with Scotland’s Russell Knox, to be eight strokes off the pace.

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris also struggled to one-over 71s.

The St Jude is the new first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The top 125 players in the regular-season points standings qualified (120 are playing), and only the top 70 after this week will advance to the second leg, the BMW Championship.

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