in

FedEx Cup play-offs: Tommy Fleetwood & Paul Casey contend at Northern Trust

Fleetwood (right) played his opening round with Tiger Woods
Northern Trust first round leaderboard (US unless stated)
-5: Tway, Lovemark, Taylor, O’Hair; -4: Fleetwood (Eng), Casey (Eng), Matsuyama (Jpn), Piercy, Putnam, D Johnson, Koepka, Na, Cejka (Ger), Lee (NZ), Vegas (Ven), Cabrera Bello (Spa)
Selected others: -3: Mickelson; -2: Poulter (Eng), Hatton (Eng); -1: Laird (Sco); level: Woods; +1: Rose (Eng); +4: Rahm (Spa)

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey sit one shot shot off the lead of the Northern Trust, the first of four FedEx Cup play-off events.

The pair carded four-under-par opening rounds of 67 to join world number one Dustin Johnson and three-time major winner Brooks Koepka in second place.

Kevin Tway, Jamie Lovemark, Sean O’Hair and Vaughn Taylor shot 66 to lead.

A group of 13 players are just a shot behind the four Americans, while Tiger Woods finished level par in New Jersey.

Woods, 42, has not qualified for the PGA Tour’s four post-season play-off events in five years and hopes to excel in the coming weeks with a view to securing a spot on America’s Ryder Cup team.

But two bogeys hampered his round at Ridgewood Country Club, leaving him five off the pace.

Dustin Johnson came close to a hole in one when his tee shot on the sixth hole lipped out

Only the top 125 points scorers throughout the PGA Tour season are eligible for the Northern Trust and the FedEx Cup structure means numbers will be cut to 100, 70 and 30 at consecutive events over the coming month with an overall winner decided at September’s Tour Championship.

The FedEx Cup winner earns a bonus of $10m (£7.8m) – a feat Woods is the only player to achieve more than once, in 2007 and 2009.

Johnson, winner of last year’s Northern Trust, leads the FedEx Cup rankings going into the play-off stage and closed his opening round well.

After a triple bogey on the par-five 17th – the eighth hole of his round – he finished with momentum to record seven birdies in all and almost produced a hole in one on the par-three sixth, only for his tee shot to lip out.

Fleetwood, playing with Woods, prospered with four birdies in his first nine holes and dropped just one shot, a start with which he said he was happy.

“I’ve not swung it great in practice and was a little scrappy early on but holed some great putts in my first 10 holes and then it kind of dried up a bit,” he said.

Elsewhere in the field, England’s Ian Poulter and Tyrell Hatton are both two under, a shot ahead of Scotland’s Martin Laird.

England’s Justin Rose endured a frustrating back nine as he followed followed birdie with bogey on three occasions to end the day on one over par.

American Brandt Snedeker, who won last week’s Wyndham Championship, withdrew from the Northern Trust with back spasms but hopes to be back for the second FedEx Cup event.