Erik van Rooyen continued his recent run of good form on Thursday in the opening round of the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship as he carded a five-under-par 67 for a share of seventh place.
The South African opened his round with two consecutive birdies, but he made his only bogey of the round on the third. After that, however, there were no more dropped shots as he made birdies on five, nine, 12 and 13. He shared seventh with 12 other players including Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama and last week’s winner, Tony Finau.
Sam Burns of the United States took a share of the first-round lead with world number one Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy. They each signed for an eight-under-par 64, and were one stroke ahead of Sergio Garcia. Abraham Ancer of Mexico and American Patrick Cantlay shared fifth on six-under.
Charl Schwartzel opened with a one-under 71, as did world number seven Louis Oosthuizen, while Branden Grace battled his way to a three-over 75 and was at the bottom of the leaderboard in 69th.
Van Rooyen will need to do even better in the remaining rounds if he is to make next week’s Tour Championship, as he is projected to rise to 34th in the FedEx Cup rankings, and only the top 30 will play at East Lake.
Oosthuizen is all but assured of a place next week, while Schwartzel and Grace are currently projected to finish this week in 67th and 58th respectively.