Published February 05, 2015
Paramus, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Bo Van Pelt fired a 6-under 65 on Thursday and grabbed a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of The Barclays.
Van Pelt hasn't won since 2009 and has just one top-10 finish this season. In his last three starts, he has one missed cut and a pair of top-15 finishes.
Hunter Mahan posted a 5-under 66 and is tied for second place with eight other players. Including this tournament, Mahan is the only player that has competed in all 29 FedExCup playoff events.
The five-time PGA Tour winner was joined at minus-5 at Ridgewood Country Club by Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Charles Howell III, Brendon de Jonge, Brendon Todd, Ben Martin and Cameron Tringale.
Danny Lee, Ryo Ishikawa and Russell Knox share 11th place at minus-4.
Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, 2010 winner Matt Kuchar and Justin Rose, who shared second place last year, are among 19 players tied for 13th place at 3-under 68.
Defending champion Adam Scott is one stroke behind that group at minus-2.
PGA Championship winner and Open Champion Rory McIlroy struggled to a 3-over 74, which left him tied for 102nd place in the 122-player field.
Van Pelt flew out of the gate with three straight birdies. He made a 5-footer at the first and drained a 23-foot try at No. 2. Van Pelt's third shot to the par-5 third stopped inside two feet and he kicked that in for birdie.
Following that opening burst, Van Pelt remained two off the lead as he ran off 12 consecutive pars. He drained a 9-foot birdie effort at the 16th to get within one of the large group of leaders.
Van Pelt jumped ahead of that group as he holed an eagle chip from just short of the green at the par-5 17th. He closed his bogey-free round with a par at the last to grab the first-round lead for the eighth time in his PGA Tour career.
"I felt my preparation was good coming in, but you just never know. It's nice to get off to a good start. You know, I hit it close on one, made a nice putt on two and pretty much had a gimmie on three. Anytime you can get ahead of a tough golf course, I think it just relaxes you a little bit," Van Pelt said. "I hit really good in the middle of the round, had four or five good ones in a row that I didn't make. The up and down at 15 really kept my round going."
Mahan opened with a birdie at the first and another at the fifth. After six pars in a row, he traded a bogey for a birdie from the 12th. Mahan converted three straight birdie efforts from the 15th to get to 5-under. He parred the last to end there.
"I definitely went through a period where I didn't hit it as well as I normally do, and I think that kind of weighed on me more than it should have. I feel like it's a good time, good opportunity, being 33 years old, to look at myself, look at my game and look at how I do things and examine them," said Mahan, who is trying to earn one of Tom Watson's captains picks for the Ryder Cup. "So I've been thinking about that over a month or two, thought fully about it and I think right now in the last month or so, I've really been focusing on the details of myself and my game."
Tringale, who disqualified himself from the PGA Championship last week, mixed six birdies and one bogey in his round of 66. Furyk, Martin and de Jonge did the same.
"We had great kind of rhythm in the round. Everyone was playing well and hitting a lot of quality shots, so it kind of felt like I was just trying to keep up," said Tringale, who played with Mahan and Charl Schwartzel.
Todd and Howell had seven birdies and two bogeys in their rounds, while Casey had a bogey-free round with five birdies.
NOTES: Van Pelt has played the first two playoff events every year of the FedExCup ... Of the seven times Van Pelt had a piece of the first-round lead, his best finish a solo second place at the 2012 Quicken Loans National ... In the seven years of the FedExCup, 46 players that started outside the top 100 on the points list entering the first playoff event were able to move on to the second event.