Rory stays in touch at Barclays

Rory Sabbatini carded a three-under-par 68 on a weather-affected first day of The Barclays in Edison, New Jersey to keep himself in the race for a spot in the Tour Championship.

The Barclays is the first event in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs, with a field of 125 players. That field gets whittled down over the course of this tournament and the next two – the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship – until just 30 players are left in the Tour Championship.

Sabbatini is projected to remain in the top 30 at 23rd should he stay in his current share of 27th, but he will have the frustration of having to deal with bad weather brought on by the approach of Hurricane Irene to the East coast of the United States over the next few days if he is to remain in the frame.

Retief Goosen was the second of the four South Africans in the field – Charl Schwartzel is sitting this one out ahead of the final three events – who completed his round ahead of the weather delay. He also carded a 68, and his FedExCup would continue into the Deutsche Bank Championship should he stay where he is, as he would climb to 80th in the rankings.

Out on the course, and scheduled to finish their opening rounds early on Friday were Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman.

Els, who squeezed into the playoffs with his performance in last week’s Wyndham Championship, was at three-under through 12 holes – and playing well after a bogey on the second with three consecutive birdies from four to six, and then another on 11.

Should he stay in his current share of 27th, he would vault 20 spots from his current 118th and get into the next event. Immelman was on two-under through 13 and his solid season means staying in a share of 40th would see him climb two spots to 93rd and stay in the playoffs.

Harrison Frazar completed his round at seven-under 64 to hold the clubhouse lead, while Matt Kuchar was also on seven-under through 16.

William McGirt, who was the last man into the playoffs after Wyndham last week, was on seven-under through 11, with FedExCup leader Nick Watney in the clubhouse at four-under.

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