The Barclays 2014: Rory McIlroy trails by eight shots in pursuit of first FedEx Cup

Americans Cameron Tringale, Hunter Mahan and Charles Howell III share the clubhouse lead

Rory McIlroy’s challenge for a first FedEx Cup win got off to a disappointing start as he shot a three-over par 74 in the first round at The Barclays, in New Jersey, the opening tournament of the four-event play-offs.

The Northern Irishman, ranked No 1 in the world and first in the FedEx Cup standings after winning the Open, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship in succession, trails the leading trio in the clubhouse by eight strokes.

Americans Cameron Tringale, Hunter Mahan and Charles Howell III, all shot five-under rounds of 66 at Ridgewood Country Club to share the clubhouse lead.

McIlroy, who has appeared at more PR functions than golf courses since winning the US PGA earlier this month, starting on the back nine, made a double-bogey and two bogeys before the turn and a birdie on the par-four fifth was cancelled out by another bogey on his penultimate hole – the eighth.

But McIlroy slightly limited the damage by finishing with a birdie on the ninth hole to end at three-over.

Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and Scotland’s Russell Knox were both a stroke behind the leaders on 67.

Jamie Donaldson is on course to secure the eighth automatic place in Europe’s Ryder Cup side, as he led the Czech Masters with a six-under 66. With two weeks of the qualifying race to go and the likes of Luke Donald and Ian Poulter close behind him, a good performance this weekend can secure a debut at Gleneagles next month. The two-time European Tour winner has previously visited Prague only for his brother’s stag weekend, but is keen to do well at Albatross Golf Resort.

“Things are quite close with the Ryder Cup spots but I just have to take each week at a time,” said Donaldson.

“There are two events left and I have to go out here this week and play well, play to win the tournament as I do every week.

“It’s a great target to have and it’s been a target for me for quite a while. You just need to ignore it and get on with the things that make you play well and keep doing those things to enable you to have the best week you can.”

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific