Tracker: Woods fires 68, McIlroy a 69

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9:08:01 PM ET. 04/16/2014




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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The hoopla surrounding the pairing of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy stole many headlines leading up to the first round of the Barclays at Bethpage Black.

And it lived up to expectations.

Tiger Woods had the upper hand on Thursday, firing a 3-under 68 behind four birdies and a single bogey, while McIlroy blitzed his first nine with four birdies, but a pair of bogeys on the incoming nine pushed him to a 2-under 69. Woods is currently T-11, while McIlroy is T-19.

Both are chasing Padraig Harrington, who fired a 7-under 64 early Thursday. The 64 tied the course record, also shot by Lucas Glover and Mike Wier.

Here is how the action unfolded on Thursday morning. Stay tuned as we keep you up-to-date with the afternoon pairings and whether anyone can run down Harrington.

• • •

Update #6: 4:15 p.m. ET

Jimmy Walker just made a birdie at the par-3 14th to move to 5 under. He's bogey-free so far with four holes left to play this afternoon. Also, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III is 5 over through 10 holes.

• • •

Update #5: 3:42 p.m. ET

Chris Kirk, Jimmy Walker and Billy Mayfair are all at 4 under (T-7) to lead the afternoon groups. Brandt Snedeker is among the notables playing well this afternoon. He's at 2 under along with Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson and Justin Rose.

• • •

Update #4: 3:02 p.m. ET

Ernie Els started his day with two pars and a bogey at No. 3 to drop to 1 over. But since then, he's 5 under, including three birdies and an eagle in his last four holes. Els is currently at 4 under with one hole left on his front nine. He's three back of the lead.

• • •

Update #3: 2:20 p.m. ET

So far this afternoon, no one has threatened to overtake Padraig Harrington (7 under) atop the leaderboard. Of those teeing off this afternoon, only Greg Chalmers is at 3 under or better.

• • •

Update #2: 1:22 p.m. ET

Tiger is joined in his tie for 11th by the likes of Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald and playing competitor Zach Johnson. One shot ahead of them is Dustin Johnson, while Sergio Garcia is two shots ahead at 5 under.

One behind that group at 3 under includes Lee Westwood, McIlroy and Steve Stricker.

• • •

No. 9, par 4, 460 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 9: From the elevated back tee of this dramatically sweeping dogleg left, players face two options: a safe, shorter drive to the flat of a fairway, leaving 200 yards in, or challenging the bunker and, if carrying it 296 yards past the sand, playing from a garden spot that’s 150 yards out. See Brad's hole-by-hole breakdown here.

Off the tee: Tiger decides to pull driver and plays maybe his best one of the day, hammering it into the middle of the fairway and has less than 125 yards into the green. McIlroy also pulls driver, but hooks it slightly too much and finds the left rough.

Approach shot: Tiger hits another green safely, but does leave it about 30 feet right of the cup, not stellar considering he was less than 125 yards out. McIlroy knocks his second shot onto the green in the same vicinity as Tiger, with the Northern Irishman looking at 25 feet for a finishing birdie.

On the green: From long distance, Tiger rolls the birdie attempt past and picks up a tap-in par to polish off a 3-under 68. McIlroy also two-putts to pick up a 2-under 69.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (3 under thru 18 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 18 holes)

• • •

No. 8, par 3, 210 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 8: Good thing this downhill hole has the deepest green on the course: 46 yards. The play across the only water hazard on the layout requires a middle iron to a narrow putting surface. See Brad's hole-by-hole breakdown here.

Off the tee: A little indecision on club selection for Tiger, testing the elements multiple times. He might have chosen one club too many, taking it right over the flag and leaving himself about 35 feet for birdie. McIlroy plays a nice-looking shot under the hole and he'll have about 18 feet for birdie.

On the green: Tiger puts nice pace on his birdie attempt, but it stays left and he taps in a 1-footer for par. McIlroy also misses his birdie attempt by about a foot and picks up par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (3 under thru 17 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 17 holes)

• • •

No. 7, par 5, 553 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein: What was one of the hardest greens to hit in regulation as a par 4 in the 2002 and '09 U.S. Opens will play to its normal designation as a par 5 for The Barclays and thus be among the easiest GIRs.

Off the tee: Tiger smokes a driver at the dogleg right and hits the right fairway, leaving himself about 215 yards into the green. McIlroy follows suit and will have about 220 into the front-left pin.

Second shot: Tiger takes iron and takes dead aim at the flag, but it is one club too many and it bounds past the flag and into some greenside rough behind the hole. He'll have about 30 feet for eagle. McIlroy is also aggressive, but comes up short and lands in a greenside bunker just in front of the pin.

Around the green: McIlroy nearly holes out his bunker shot, leaving it about 3 inches short of the cup and he taps it in for birdie. Tiger has to chop at his third shot, gets it on the green but doesn't like it at all.

On the green: From about 8 feet, Tiger drains the birdie putt to get back to 3 under, four back of Padraig Harrington.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (3 under thru 16 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 16 holes)

• • •

No. 6, par 4, 408 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 6: On this sharp dogleg leg, it's tempting to have a go at it off the tee because the left corner of the dogleg is protected by a bunker that requires “only” a 270-yard carry. But the temptation comes with considerable risk.

Off the tee: Tiger hits a stinger with a long iron off the tee and finds the right rough, so the safe play didn't pay off for Woods. McIlroy does find the fairway, about 10 yards ahead of Tiger.

Approach shot: A poor second shot from Tiger here, finding a greenside bunker for the second consecutive hole. McIlroy just clears that bunker, but sticks in greenside rough, about 25 feet from the hole.

Around the green: Tiger plays a nice bunker shot to about 8 feet past the hole, which he'll have for another par save.

On the green: Tiger falters for the first time on Thursday, missing his par putt to fall back to 2 under. Meanwhile, McIlroy takes three shots to get in from the rough and also drops a shot to fall back to 1 under.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (2 under thru 15 holes); McIlroy (1 under thru 15 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: Padraig Harrington is on a roll. He has birdied six of his eight holes on the back nine and enters No. 18 at 7 under. He has eight total birdies and just one bogey. His most recent birdie came at the par-3 17th, where he made a 12 footer for a second straight birdie.

• • •

No. 5, par 4, 478 yards

This has been a very methodic day for Tiger, settling for pars with three birdies sprinkled in. He has recovered from two poor tee balls and has otherwise played straightforward golf. That par at No. 4 will feel like a bogey to McIlroy, considering there have been eagles on the hole today.

Off the tee: Tiger takes driver here and finds the right rough despite a 327-yard bomb, it just didn't have enough to clear. McIlroy also misses the fairway, finding the intermediate cut on the left.

Approach shot: From about 160 yards, McIlroy finds the green, but will have 30 feet from the right for birdie. Tiger is in a bit of trouble, going from the rough to a greenside bunker fronting the green. He is 2-for-2 on scrambles today.

Around the green: Tiger does a good job of getting out of the bunker, but will have about 6 feet for par.

On the green: McIlroy nearly holes out his lengthy birdie try, leaving it about 6 inches short and he taps in for par. Tiger nails his par putt for a huge save to stay within three shots of the lead.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (3 under thru 14 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 14 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: Padraig Harrington has joined Nick Watney at 6 under after a birdie at the par-4 16th, his fifth birdie in his last six holes. They lead Pat Perez and Gary Christian, who are at 5 under. Perez is in the clubhouse after notching six birdies en route to a 66.

• • •

No. 4, par 5, 517 yards

Our Bradley S. Klein on No. 4: This is an iconic Tillinghast par 5, presenting three dramatic banks of bunkers, all of them relevant and in play. It basically plays as two dogleg lefts, divided by a massive diagonal sandy waste in the middle that comes into play on second shots played short. See Brad's hole-by-hole breakdown here.

Off the tee: Tiger takes driver and rips it up the middle, leaving himself a little more than 200 yards into the green. McIlroy does the same and will have about 10 yards less.

Second shot: Tiger rips his second shot and actually goes over the green and into the intermediate cut of rough behind it, where he'll chip for eagle from about 70 feet. McIlroy also flies the green, his to the left of the flag and he'll have about 75 feet to the hole.

Third shot: Facing a delicate chip, Tiger plays a nice one to about 7 feet, which he'll have for another birdie. McIlroy also chips, with his settling about 7 feet under the hole.

On the green: Tiger buries his putt for his third birdie of the day, taking advantage of this short par 5. McIlroy misses his birdie try, sending it right and taps in for a pedestrian par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (3 under thru 13 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 13 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: Nick Watney has moved into sole possession of the lead at 6 under. Watney stuck his approach to about 2 feet at the par-4 sixth and then made his eighth birdie of the day.

• • •

No. 3, par 3, 230 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 3: Tough hole, with a green that offers only a little room to work the ball in from right to left.

Off the tee: Tiger decides to be super aggressive on this tee ball and takes it right at the flag in the middle of the green and has it settle about 7 feet behind the hole, giving himself another good look at birdie. Meanwhile, McIlroy hooks his ball a bit and finds a greenside bunker.

Around the green: McIlroy gets out of the bunker and sends it about 12 feet past the flag, which he'll have for par.

On the green: McIlroy misses his par attempt and picks up his second bogey of the day to fall back to 2 under. Meanwhile, Tiger sends his birdie attempt about a foot past and taps in for a par, a definite missed opportunity for Woods.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (2 under thru 12 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 12 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: Nick Watney, Padraig Harrington and Gary Christian share the lead at 5 under. Watney has a double bogey at the par-3 14th, but also has made seven birdies. Harrington has six birdies, including four straight.

• • •

No. 2, par 4, 389 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 2: Another can’t-miss-fairway hole, this one dramatic in the voluptuous fairway contours – entirely natural – and the placement of the putting surface well above the landing area.

Off the tee: McIlroy didn't heed that advice and goes into the left rough, only his second missed fairway of the day. McIlroy tried to cut the corner at the dogleg left. Tiger tries to do the same, but succeeds, landing on the left side of the fairway and will have about 100 yards into the green.

Approach shot: McIlroy gets it out of the rough cleanly and sends it more than 30 feet past the flag on the left side. Tiger also takes the same trajectory, but will have only 20 feet for birdie.

On the green: McIlroy's birdie attempt comes up about 3 feet short of the cup, but makes that for par. Moments later, Tiger drains his birdie try to move to 2 under and three shots off the lead. He has nine pars and two birdies so far. McIlroy's first putt gave Tiger a nice read on the pace and break.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (2 under thru 11 holes); McIlroy (thru 11 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: We have a new outright leader in K.J. Choi, who has moved to 5 under thru 16 holes. There are now five players at 4 under, including Padraig Harrington, who is fighting for a Ryder Cup spot.

• • •

No. 1, par 4, 430 yards

An impressive first nine from both Tiger and McIlroy. Tiger hit 7 of 9 greens, posted one birdie and eight pars. Meanwhile, McIlroy shares the lead behind four birdies and a bogey.

Off the tee: Staring at an extreme dogleg right, McIlroy cuts the corner with driver and finds the fairway with a 330-yard poke. Tiger will be in trouble here, trying to play a fade off the tee, but it never fades and finds the rough on the left, having to yell "Fore!" Needless to say, he isn't happy.

Approach shot: Tiger has about 150 yards left to the green and finds the left rough, about 45 feet from the pin. Meanwhile, McIlroy plays a clean shot and will have about 12 feet for birdie.

Third shot: Tiger plays a great chip to about 3 feet, which he'll have to save par.

On the green: McIlroy's birdie attempt slides about 2 feet past and he settles for par despite a great drive and approach. Tiger does make his short par putt for another nice up-and-down from trouble off the tee.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (1 under thru 10 holes); McIlroy (3 under thru 10 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: We have new co-leaders, with both Sergio Garcia and Gary Christian moving to 4 under.

• • •

No. 18, par 4, 411 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on the 18th hole: An odd finishing hole, with a fairway corseted by oceans of sand on both sides. Recovery from here all the way to the green would require extraordinary play.

Off the tee: Tiger doesn't even give himself a chance to mess with that sand, just using a stinger up the middle of the fairway and he'll have just over 160 yards into the green. McIlroy does the same and both should be able to get after the front pin location.

Approach shot: McIlroy has a nice position in the fairway, but sends his second shot nearly 30 feet past the flag, which he'll have for birdie. Tiger is also in a prime spot, but sends his about 28 feet to the right of the flag. McIlroy hit 8 of 9 greens in regulation on his first nine, while Tiger hit 7 of 9.

On the green: McIlroy's birdie putt is offline and leaves it 3 feet short of the cup and settles for par. Tiger gives his birdie try a nice run, but comes up about 20 inches short and taps that in for a par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (1 under thru 9 holes); McIlroy (3 under thru 9 holes)

• • •

No. 17, par 3, 207 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on the 17th hole: The green here is elusive – an hourglass tipped on its side, pinched short and long with deep sand. There’s no getting away with a poorly struck shot here; it simply has to be flighted perfectly.

Off the tee: The hole is protected by a bunker on the far left, so Tiger decides to attack the middle of the green and will have about 45 feet for birdie. McIlroy doesn't seem to have left that last bogey to effect him, going right after the flag and he'll have 10 feet to get that shot back.

On the green: Tiger gives his birdie attempt a run, but it slides just by and settles a foot under the hole. He taps that in for a seventh par on his first nine. McIlroy buries his 10-footer for his fourth birdie in the opening eight holes, with the bogey at No. 16 his only blemish.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (1 under thru 8 holes); McIlroy (3 under thru 8 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: It's getting crowded at the top of the leaderboard as five golfers sit at 3 under. Among those are Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia, who stuck his tee shot to 10 feet at the par-3 eighth before making birdie.

• • •

No. 16, par 4, 490 yards

Tiger and McIlroy both seem to have it going early, with the latter's putter just a bit hotter through one-third of the round.

Off the tee: McIlroy misses his first fairway of the day, flaring his tee ball out to the right. Meanwhile, Tiger pummels his driver up the middle of the fairway to the tune of 325 yards.

Approach shot: From a pristine spot in the fairway, Tiger takes dead aim at the pin on the left and leaves himself about 12 feet for birdie. McIlroy can't get his ball to the green from the rough, leaving it short and in a greenside bunker.

Third shot: McIlroy barely gets his ball out of the bunker and leaves it in the rough in front of the green.

Around the green: McIlroy chips up to about 4 feet right of the cup and will have that for bogey.

On the green: Tiger has a nice look, but his birdie attempt lips out and taps in a 2-footer for par. McIlroy does make his bogey putt to drop his first shot of the day.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (1 under thru 7 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 7 holes)

• • •

No. 15, par 4, 478 yards

From our Bradley S. Klein on the 15th hole: From the sublime to the ridiculous, this long, twisting uphill hole leads to a green that feels like its sliding off the hill. Read his hole-by-hole Bethpage breakdown here.

Off the tee: That birdies seems to have provided Tiger with a little bit of confidence, taking out driver here and he carries it too far and into the right rough. McIlroy also goes up the right side, but finds the edge of the fairway.

Approach shot: Tiger would do well just to hit the green out of the rough, and does so, leaving it on the front and will have about a 50 foot putt for birdie. McIlroy goes pin-hunting again and leaves himself about 15 feet for birdie.

On the green: Tiger nearly drains his birdie bomb, leaving it about 10 inches from the cup and he taps in for a nice par, especially after his wayward tee ball. Meanwhile, McIlroy has grabbed a share of the lead after draining his birdie attempt.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (1 under thru 6 holes); McIlroy (3 under thru 6 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: It's been a rough start for Matt Kuchar, who is 2 over through five holes. He needed five shots to make it on the green after finding two bunkers at the par-5 13th. He would make a 23 footer for bogey to prevent further damage. He also bogeyed his opening hole – the par-4 10th – after a short drive – 274 yards – forced him to lay up. He then two-putted for bogey.

• • •

No. 14, par 3, 161 yards

McIlroy has the early upper hand in this marquee pairing, burying a 2-footer at No. 11 and a 20-footer at No. 13 to get to 2 under. Tiger is playing solid, but that birdie miss at No. 13 will sting after playing the hole from tee-to-green nearly perfectly.

Off the tee: After a wait on the tee, McIlroy hits another green in regulation, sending his tee ball into the middle of the green and will have just over 20 feet for birdie. Tiger meanwhile goes after the flag and finds the green to the right of the hole and will have about 15 feet for a birdie.

On the green: McIlroy leaves his birdie attempt about 6 inches short of the cup and taps in for an easy par. Moments later, Tiger buries his first birdie putt of the day to get into red figures and two off the early lead.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (1 under thru 5 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 5 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: Kyle Stanley just moved to 2 under after making a 10 footer for eagle at the par-5 fourth hole. He shares third with seven others, including Dustin Johnson, Sean O'Hair and McIlroy. Greg Owen and Pat Perez lead at 3 under.

• • •

No. 13, par 5, 608 yards

This is a reachable par 5, with both Tiger and McIlroy having the length to give this a go.

Off the tee: Tiger finds the fairway, but only just over 300 yards and will have nearly 300 with his second shot, which means he'll likely lay up. McIlroy is only about 5 yards further and will face the same predicament.

Second shot: Tiger does indeed lay up, just guiding it up the fairway and leaving himself about 80 yards for his third. McIlroy does the same, but lays back to about 100 yards out.

Approach shot: McIlroy hits first and leaves his approach about 20 feet left of the flag, while Tiger stiffs his third shot to about 6 feet for his first good look at birdie.

On the green: McIlroy knew what he was doing here, sliding in his 20-footer for a second birdie and is one shot off the early lead. Despite getting to 6 feet, Tiger slides his birdie attempt past on the right and settles for a fourth-straight par to start his round. A waste of a very nice wedge shot there.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (Even thru 4 holes); McIlroy (2 under thru 4 holes)

Elsewhere on the course: The early lead belongs to Pat Perez at 3 under. Perez jumped out of the gates with three straight birdies on Nos. 10-12 and is currently through six holes. He leads a trio of golfers – Greg Owen, Blake Adams and Tory Matteson – in second-place at 2 under.

• • •

No. 12, par 4, 501 yards

Another longer par 4 here, this one featuring a cross-bunker about 265 yards off the tee.

Off the tee: Tiger lays well back off the tee, finding the right fairway, but leaves himself about 220 yards into the green. Meanwhile, McIlroy cuts more of the corner at the dogleg left and will have about 160 yards into the far left pin location.

Approach shot: Tiger says he was too relaxed at the outset of the third round at the PGA Championship, but seems to be enjoying this pairing with McIlroy, walking down the fairway together and chatting. Definitely not the stick-to-myself Tiger. Despite being more than 220 yards out, Tiger hits the green and will have about 30 feet for birdie. McIlroy gets his second shot in close again, leaving himself about 12 feet for a second-straight birdie.

On the green: Tiger faces another lengthy birdie try and misses it on the low side, leaving himself a 3-footer for par, which he knocks in. McIlroy misses his birdie attempt, leaving it a foot right and taps in for a par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (Even thru 3 holes); McIlroy (1 under thru 3 holes)

• • •

No. 11, par 4, 435 yards

This isn't necessarily a hole to pull driver, with a narrow landing surface about 290 yards out. For Bradley Klein's complete hole-by-hole breakdown of Bethpage Black, click here.

Off the tee: After missing his first fairway of the day, Tiger finds it this time with his stinger, meeting a chorus of cheers. McIlroy also finds the fairway, way ahead of Tiger's ball.

Approach shot: With the pin hovering toward the right side, Tiger takes aim and pushes it a bit too far right and finds the intermediate cut, but should be able to putt from about 30 feet right of the hole. McIlroy steals the show here though, hitting his approach from about 125 yards and putting it 2 feet to the right of the cup.

On the green: Facing a downhill putt, Tiger nearly holes it, but sends it about 2 feet past and knocks that in for another par. Meanwhile, McIlroy taps his 2-footer in for birdie.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (Even thru 2 holes); McIlroy (1 under thru 2 holes)

• • •

No. 10, par 4, 502 yards

With Jason Dufner taking the week off, three of the top four in the FedEx Cup standings are featured in this group, with Tiger (No. 1), McIlroy (No. 3) and Zach Johnson (No. 4). The three have already made their way to the 10th tee at Bethpage, met by a thunderous applause. Tiger is outfitted in a white hat and white shoes, while going dark with his shirt and pants. The forecast calls for sunny skies, with current temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, with a high of 80 expected by 1 p.m. ET.

Off the tee: A good start for all three players, with McIlroy finding the left fairway and Tiger just in the left rough, but still should be able to attack.

Approach shot: With 175 yards left into the green, Tiger finds the rough in front of the green and has about 20 yards into the far-left flag. Meanwhile, McIlroy hits his first green and will have a birdie putt from about 15 feet.

Third shot: Tiger hits a nice shot to about 4 feet, which he'll have to save par.

On the green: McIlroy leaves his birdie putt about 6 inches short and taps in for a par, while Tiger makes a nice save for par. McIlroy's start was prettier, but both walk away where they started the day.

ON THE DAY: Tiger (Even thru 1 hole); McIlroy (Even thru 1 hole)

Elsewhere on the course: Pat Perez, who made some noise at the PGA Championship, is 3 under over his opening three holes to hold the early lead.

• • •

Update #1: 8:07 a.m.

Both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy didn't participate in the Barclays in 2011, with McIlroy's last appearance coming in 2010 with a T-56 finish, while Woods was T-12 in that same tournament.

In Woods' three victories this season, he actually hasn't started all that well, breaking 70 only once. Meanwhile, McIlroy started fast in both of his PGA Tour wins, firing 66 at the Honda Classic and 67 at the PGA Championship.

• • •

Tiger Woods no lock for Player of the Year

Tiger Woods leads the PGA Tour in victories (three), scoring average (68.91) and FedEx Cup points, but he’s hardly a lock for Player of the Year entering the playoffs. Story.

• • •

Tiger vs. Rory takes centerstage at Barclays

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Tiger Woods was the top seed going into the playoffs. Now the focus returns to him. Story.

• • •

Notebook: Euros stick it out for FedEx Cup playoffs

While the European Tour hosts the Johnnie Walker, its stars have stayed in the U.S. to play The Barclays. Story.

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