Leish­man siz­zles on course


Shepparton News - - SPORT -

BMW Cham­pi­onship leader Marc Leish­man will head into day two with con­fi­dence lev­els sky-high af­ter bag­ging his low­est round of the year in Chicago.

Leish­man spear­headed a red-hot Aus­tralian con­tin­gent at Con­way Farms Golf Club with coun­try­men Ja­son Day and Cameron Smith also high on the leader­board at the 70-man event.

Fresh from a third place fin­ish at the pre­vi­ous FedEx Cup play-offs event in Bos­ton, Leish­man holds a two-shot lead ahead of world No.9 Day and Amer­i­cans Charley Hoff­man and Jamie Love­mark.

Leish­man fired a stun­ning nine-un­der-par 62, with Day, Love­mark and Hoff­man (all 64) at sev­e­nun­der.

FedEx Cup points leader Jor­dan Spi­eth and Rickie Fowler (both 65) head­line a five-way tie for fifth at six­un­der.

Vic­to­rian na­tive Leish­man’s 62 is his low­est score dur­ing a breakout 2017 sea­son which in­cludes a win at the Arnold Palmer In­vi­ta­tional in March, as well as six top-10s and 14 top-25s.

‘‘A round like that is spe­cial. I haven’t had a real low round for a long time, so it was nice to do that in a big tour­na­ment like the BMW,’’ Leish­man said.

At sev­enth in the FedEx stand­ings, Leish­man needs a solo sec­ond place at the BMW to move into the top­five seed­ings for next week’s Tour Cham­pi­onship.

The top five are guar­an­teed the $US10 mil­lion FedEx cup prize with a vic­tory at East Lake Golf Club in At­lanta.

Leish­man hit 16 of 18 greens in reg­u­la­tion and missed just three fair­ways, while rank­ing sec­ond in the field on the greens.

‘‘I did a lot of work chart­ing and study­ing the greens be­fore the tour­na­ment, like I did in Bos­ton. I’m feel­ing great with the put­ter,’’ Leish­man said.

Day, the 2015 BMW win­ner rat­tled off an ea­gle, six birdies, and a bo­gey to get the new part­ner­ship hum­ming.

Next best of the Aus­tralians was Smith, who fired a 66 to share 10th at five­un­der with three oth­ers, in­clud­ing five-time ma­jor win­ner Phil Mick­el­son.

Af­ter miss­ing the cut in the first two play-offs events, Smith ad­mit­ted he ‘‘took the foot off the gas’’ af­ter start­ing the post­sea­son guar­an­teed of mak­ing the BMW.

Need­ing a fourth-placed fin­ish to progress to the 30-man Tour Cham­pi­onship, Smith knows it is door-die.

‘‘I could have mailed it in, but I went out there with a slightly dif­fer­ent mind­set.

‘‘I prob­a­bly took the foot off the gas in the first two events but this is a big week and I’m up for it.’’

Pic­ture: AP/Nam Y. Huh

Leader: Marc Leish­man watches his sec­ond shot on the 16th hole dur­ing the first round of the BMW Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment at Con­way Farms Golf Club.

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