NORTON, Mass. (AP) — Luke Donald took a huge step toward advancing to the next FedEx Cup playoff event at his home course in Chicago. Jason Day took a small step toward No. 1 in the world.
As for Jordan Spieth?
He took another step in the wrong direction with his third straight round over par.
p>Donald, who narrowly qualified for the PGA Tour's postseason, made six birdies in blustery conditions for a 4-under 67 that gave him a share of the lead with Colt Knost among early starters Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
With three players having a chance to be No. 1 in the world ranking, Day had the most promising start. Coming off a six-shot victory at The Barclays, the 27-year-old Australian opened with three straight birdies & saved par on his next hole at No. 14 with a 10-foot putt in the heart of the cup.
Day reached 5 under until two bogeys over his last five holes gave him a 68, tied with Gary Woodland & Ryan Palmer.
The PGA champion was in full flight, looking comfortable & confident as he goes for his fourth win in his last five tournaments. Winning is required for him to have any chance to reach No. 1 in the world for the first time.
Spieth lost the No. 1 ranking back to Rory McIlroy when he missed the cut at The Barclays. He faces another short week after a most peculiar round of 75. It was offensive enough that Spieth did not miss a fairway, except for the reachable par-4 fourth hole where he hit it into a satisfactory spot in the front bunker.
It was his level of irritation.
He was muttering as he left the 11th green with a hard-earned bogey from a buried lie in the lip of the bunker. He slammed his bag & looked disgusted over most of his shot. And it was only the opening round.
Spieth missed a 5-foot par putt on his 17th hole that never touched the cup, & even after missing a 20-foot birdie putt on his last hole, he had to concentrate over the comeback par putt from 4 feet. Combined with last week, it was his third straight round over par, the first time that has happened since June 2014.
Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Cha …
Spieth left the TPC Boston without speaking to reporters.
McIlroy, playing two groups ahead of Spieth & Day, was within one shot of the lead until he dropped two shots coming in & had a 70.
Donald moved up 32 spots to No. 87 in the FedEx Cup, & only the top 70 advance to the BMW Championship in two weeks at Conway Farms, where Donald is a member. He was a long shot starting these playoffs. He's looking better each day.
''I would love to continue,'' Donald said. ''But first things first. I've received to obtain to Conway Farms.''
Donald said it was tough to make birdies, & those are words rarely spoken on glorious days such as this one at the TPC Boston. A front came through that made temperatures pleasant, though the wind was strong at times in the morning & a few pins were on knobs.
Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Champio …
Phil Mickelson, in dire need of a huge week to bolster any chance of being picked for the Presidents Cup, had a pair of three-putt bogeys & shot 70.
''It was the most challenging I've seen this golf course play, especially given that the greens were very receptive,'' Mickelson said. ''But I played pretty satisfactory golf today. I hit a lot of satisfactory shots & I hit a few offensive ones, yet they weren't too bad. And it was an OK start.''
Day looked like he might birdie them all after three holes. Ultimately, he knew that 68 was a decent start.
He stuffed his approach on No. 10 to 4 feet. He hit a towering 4-iron to 10 feet for birdie on the par-3 11th. He rolled in a 20-foot birdie on No. 12. And when his birdie putt caught the lip on No. 15, Day flipped his putter into the air in shock. He must have felt he was going to make them all.
''I was making everything I looked at, & then it slowly dried up,'' Day said. ''It was a very patient day. You can't obtain out there & be so disappointed. Once you're frustrated you're going to make some mental errors & it's going to be offensive for you.''
DIVOTS: Ryan Moore took a 10 on the par-5 second hole, bounced back with an eagle two holes after & finally ran out of steam. He shot 78. … Bubba Watson did not set foot on the TPC Boston until Friday so he could rest his back. Had a 50-foot putt on his opening hole & had no idea how swift the greens were & left it short. Then, he heard Jordan Spieth say the greens were slower than Tuesday, & Watson was really lost. He shot 73.
GolfSports & RecreationJordan SpiethLuke DonaldJason Day