Spaun leads Game 1 of playoffs; Scheffler and McIlroy miss the cut | Ap Sports News


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — JJ Spaun hopes he’s just getting started on the road to the FedEx Cup Finals. Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will have to wait another week.

As for Jason Day, his season is over.

Spaun birdied a late birdie for a 3-under 67 to take a one-shot lead Friday in the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the PGA Tour playoff-opening event that has no more three of its biggest stars for the weekend at TPC Le vent du sud.

Scheffler, the Masters champion and No. 1 player for the past five months, never quite recovered from what he could only describe as an “out-of-body experience” with his first-round bet. . He had birdie chances on two of the last three holes that he couldn’t convert and his 68 was one shot away from the weekend.

“Obviously it’s really frustrating going into the playoffs,” Scheffler said. “I was practicing really hard at home, playing really really well, and I showed up and had the worst putting day ever. Golf sometimes slaps you in the face.”

McIlroy went from rough to gallery to fringe to bogey on his last hole for a 69 for only his second missed cut of the year. Spieth’s hopes of playing on the weekend ended with a tee shot in the water on the par-3 14th that led to a 74.

At least they can play next week in the BMW Championship, being high enough in the standings not to lose too much sleep over it.

The day started with a 65 and hoped for a big finish to qualify for the top 70 that reached the next playoff event. Instead, the former world No. 1 dropped five shots over the final eight holes, shot 74 and missed the cut by one stroke.

Day was among 31 players who started outside the FedEx Cup top 70 and missed the cup, meaning their season is over.

Rickie Fowler, who came in at No. 125, finished the back nine (double bogey) and front nine (bogey) poorly and shot 71. He was tied at 33rd, about for two more days, but had to struggle To advance.

Spaun was 11-under 129 and only looking ahead.

He was one stroke ahead of Sepp Straka, who birdied his last three holes for a 66, and Troy Merritt, who had a 65. Merritt started at No. 64 in the standings, so that was exactly what he needed to make sure he would. go forward.

With clear skies, scorching sun and a bit more wind, Spaun was as proud of his 67 on Friday as his 64 the day before. Above all, he feels his game coming back after entering a lull following his maiden PGA Tour title at the Valero Texas Open in early April.

“It’s so difficult to be consistently good at the highest level. Some guys that do it like that, like Tiger and McIlroy and all those guys. It’s just crazy how good they’ve been for so long,” Spaun said. “I did it for a few months, then I fell, but I’m going back.”

Straka knows the feeling. He had not been to the weekend since the Memorial in early June. And then he opened with rounds of 64-66.

“I hadn’t played very well this week. I missed a bunch of cups coming up,” Straka said (in his case, “a bunch” would be six in a row). “But that’s golf. You’re going to have your ups and downs and just go for it.”

And he was gone, especially at the end, when he finished with three straight birdies to get to 10 cents.

Tony Finau, who is coming off back-to-back wins, played his 11th consecutive round aged 68 or under since the last round of the British Open. His 68 on Friday left him three behind.

Spaun didn’t feel like he had much of a lead – one stroke, not to mention 15 players less than four strokes ahead and 36 holes still to play.

“It’s anybody’s weekend, and it’s going to be mine,” he said playfully.

The first game for so many players was getting to the weekend, and two players who rose to the occasion were Ryan Palmer and Lucas Glover.

Palmer is at No. 110 in the FedEx Cup, shot 67 and joined Finau, British Open champion Cam Smith (65) and others at 8 under 132.

Glover is No. 121. Even with a bogey on his last hole, his 68 lost him four lead shots.

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