Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods chat on the fourth green while waiting to putt… (Scott Halleran / Getty Images )
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland joined Americans Webb Simpson and Bo Van Pelt in a four-way tie for first at eight-under-par 64 after the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday, with Tiger Woods one shot back.
On a day when all but five holes at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., played under par, 59 of the 70 golfers in the FedEx Cup playoff shot under par. Only 10 shot over par.
Also recording a 64 was Graham DeLeat of Canada, while Vijay Singh was tied with Woods for fifth at 65. Americans Ryan Palmer and Ryan Moore joined Luke Donald of Britain at 66, while Americans Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler were among a group of six golfers at five-under 67.
The star-studded field also includes South Africa's Louis Oosthuisen and Ernie Els, Britain's Lee Westwood, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Americans Steve Stricker and Dustin Johnson at four-under 68, while Americans Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar as well as Spain's Sergio Garcia shot 69.
McIlroy birdied the last two holes to earn a share of the lead. Woods made a 30-foot birdie putt to finish his round.
"I wasn't playing particularly well, but I scored," Woods said. "... Rory, on the other hand, played beautifully today. Every single part of his game was working. It all looked good."
McIlroy couldn't disagree.
"I felt like my iron play was some of the best it's been all year, basically in my whole life," said the two-time major winner. "I was giving myself a lot of opportunities to attack the pins from the fairways as well. I just have to try and keep doing that for the next three days."
Simpson, the reigning U.S. Open champion, got a shock on the first tee when spectators gave Van Pelt, who is an Indiana native, a rousing ovation.
"I didn't realize he was from here until the first tee when I heard all the people erupt," Simpson said. "But it was fun playing with him. I get two home events myself, and I know what it feels like to play well. He had a great day."
Van Pelt was anxious to start the round.
"Stay aggressive -- that's just what I kept telling myself as I was making birdies early, just to keep going, because I knew if it seemed like it was playing easy for me, it was probably playing easy for anybody," Van Pelt said.
Wire services and Internet reports contributed to this report.
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