McIlroy shoots 67, among early BMW co-leaders


The leaderboard remains crowded after one round of the BMW Championship, but there are some big names near the top of the standings. Here's how things look after the first day at Cherry Hills, where Rory McIlroy is among the co-leaders with a handful of players still to complete their rounds:

Leaderboard: Rory McIlroy (-3), Jordan Spieth (-3), Gary Woodland (-3), Henrik Stenson (-2 through 17), Billy Horschel (-2), Russell Henley (-2), Sergio Garcia (-2), Graham DeLaet (-2), Martin Kaymer (-2)

What it means: No one was able to separate from the pack in the thin air of Denver, as Cherry Hills presented a stern test for an elite field of 69 players. McIlroy, as he's done for basically the last two months, moved to the top of the standings, but nearly a third of the field will start the second round within two shots of the lead. Nine players, including Stenson, were called off late in their rounds because of inclement weather and will complete their opening rounds Friday morning.

Round of the day: McIlroy started on No. 10 and played his first 12 holes in 5 under, capping that bogey-free stretch with three straight birdies on Nos. 1-3. While he fell back with bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8, he's still in position after a 3-under 67 to contend for a title he won in 2012 as he looks to overtake Chris Kirk atop the FedEx Cup standings.

Best of the rest: Spieth is one of only two players who saw Cherry Hills during the 2012 U.S. Amateur, and he put that limited experience to use during an opening 67. Spieth holed six birdies against three bogeys, making the most of the scoreable stretch at Cherry Hills with four birdies on Nos. 1-7. After struggling somewhat in recent weeks, he's looking for his first top-10 finish since the John Deere Classic.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed said that he wasn't worried after flaming out with an 82 to miss the 54-hole cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship, but the problems appear to have followed him to Denver. Reed made five bogeys on his first eight holes en route to a 7-over 77, a score that placed him 10 shots off the pace and ahead of only Ryan Moore (80) among the limited field.

Main storyline heading into Friday: As the standings begin to separate, McIlroy could be the name that everyone is chasing as he looks to make up for the final-round struggles that cost him the Deutsche Bank title four days ago. The chase pack includes Henley and Horschel, who were paired together in the final group Monday in Boston, and Stenson, who is eager to get a chance to defend his FedEx Cup title next week at East Lake.

Quote of the day: "I'm not really trying to add 10 or 15 percent. I'm just trying to play a little bit more on feel, and it seemed to work pretty well today." - McIlroy, on playing in altitude