Rory McIlroy became a dad for the first time earlier this week, then lit up East Lake on Friday in the first round of the Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy became a father for the first time earlier this week. Then on Friday, in the first round of the Tour Championship, he celebrated his new fatherhood by tying for the best round on the course.
McIlroy, who is already a two-time FedEx Cup champion, put himself right back in the mix for this year’s cup, despite the fact that he has not played all that well since the tour resumed play in June. Still, when McIlroy is on his game, he’s the best player in the world right now.
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Friday’s round did not get off to that fantastic of a start. McIlroy did birdie the first hole, then parred the second. However, he bogeyed the par-4 third hole after finding the rough off the tee and the greenside bunker with his second shot.
He did bounce right back with a birdie on the par-4 fourth hole, and McIlroy was back in red figures. After a par on five, he birdied the par-5 sixth hole to get to 2-under on his round.
McIlroy would par seven before a bogey on the eighth hole dropped him back to 1-under par. A par on the ninth hole left him with a 1-under par 34 on the front side.
The back nine was a completely different story, as McIlroy found his groove and really got his round going. After a par on the 10th hole, McIlroy rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole to get to 2-under par on his round.
A par on the 12th hole followed, then another birdie, this one on the par-4 13th hole. At that point, McIlroy found himself at 3-under on his round.
McIlroy would par the 14th and 15th holes before finishing with a bang. He would birdie the 16th, 17th and 18th holes to close his round with a 6-under par round of 64.
After starting the day, and the tournament, at 3-under par and seven shots behind leader Dustin Johnson, McIlroy erased half of that deficit in one day. He’s not 9-under par for the event and is four shots behind Johnson heading into Saturday’s second round.
Fatherhood seems to agree with McIlroy, at least through 18 holes. There would be no greater gift for McIlroy to give his newborn daughter, Poppy Kennedy McIlroy, than a win at this week’s Tour Championship and a FedEx Cup championship.