Leish­man leads way in Aussie of­fen­sive

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - EVIN PRIEST

BMW Cham­pi­onship leader Marc Leish­man has vowed to atone for his re­cent crushing de­feat in Bos­ton as he chases his first wire-to-wire vic­tory on the US PGA Tour.

The 33-year-old Leish­man head­lines an Aus­tralian as­sault on the leader­board, with coun­try­men Ja­son Day and Cameron Smith in the mix at the penul­ti­mate FedEx Cup play­offs event in Chicago.

Fresh off los­ing a twostroke lead go­ing into the back nine on Sun­day at TPC Bos­ton two weeks ago, Leish­man has steam­rolled through a starstud­ded 70-man field to post a five-shot 54-hole lead at Con­way Farms.

The Vic­to­rian backed up two stel­lar open­ing rounds with a three-un­der-par 68 on Saturday to climb to 19-un­der, with world No.9 Day and Rickie Fowler each card­ing a 70 to share sec­ond at 14-un­der.

Leish­man said los­ing the lead on the back nine at TPC Bos­ton, hand­ing Amer­i­can world No.4 Justin Thomas his fifth Tour win of the sea­son, was a bit­ter pill to swal­low.

“I usu­ally say to my wife, if I have a bad round give me 10 min­utes and I’ll be OK. [Bos­ton] took a day. It stung a bit,” said Leish­man.

Chas­ing his sec­ond PGA Tour vic­tory this year, his­tory sug­gests Leish­man can get the job done.

Of the 13 times a player has held a 54-hole lead of five shots or more dur­ing the past five years, 11 have gone on to win.

Leish­man has never led the first three rounds of a PGA Tour event and came from be­hind dur­ing his two PGA Tour wins – the 2012 Trav­el­ers Cham­pi­onship and the Arnold Palmer In­vi­ta­tional this year.

Day, who played in the fi­nal group with Leish­man on Saturday, said beat­ing his in-form com­pa­triot was go­ing to be a tough task.

“‘Leish’ is play­ing spec­tac­u­lar, he’s go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult to beat to­mor­row,” Day said.

Round­ing out the Aus­tralian con­tin­gent on the leader­board is Brisbane’s Smith, who carded a 69 to move to 10-un­der and be in a tie for 12th spot.

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