With no guarantee of playing beyond this week, Van Pelt combined a great start and a great finish for a six-under-par 65 to take a one-shot lead Thursday at the Barclays at Paramus, N.J. He is No. 104 in the FedEx Cup. Only the top 100 advance to the next tournament.
McIlroy is the top seed after his amazing summer of winning two majors and a World Golf Championship. But the world's No. 1 player had a three-over 74, his worst start to a tournament in two months.