Leish­man in driver’s seat with five-shot lead

A vic­tory would make him one of the top five seeds at the Tour Cham­pi­onship next week

Toronto Star - - SPORTS DEATHS, MEMORIALS, BIRTHS - DOUG FER­GU­SON THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

LAKE FOR­EST, ILL.— As much as Marc Leish­man has been through, es­pe­cially off the golf course, it takes a lot to get to get un­der his skin.

He tells his wife af­ter a par­tic­u­larly bad round to just give him 10 min­utes and he’ll be fine.

His pre­vi­ous tour­na­ment, when Leish­man lost a two-shot lead on the back nine at the TPC Boston, was an ex­cep­tion.

“That one prob­a­bly took a day,” he said. “It stung a bit.”

Saturday at the BMW Cham­pi­onship brought Leish­man on the verge of re­demp­tion. Leish­man got up-and-down from a tough lie be­hind the 18th green for one last birdie that gave him a 3-un­der 68 and ex­tended his lead to five shots over Ja­son Day and Rickie Fowler go­ing into the fi­nal round at Con­way Farms.

Leish­man, who was at19-un­der194, gets an­other chance to win a FedEx Cup play­off event and grab one of the top five seeds at the Tour Cham­pi­onship next week. The top seeds have a clear path to claim the $10 mil­lion (U.S.) bonus.

And this op­por­tu­nity is much bet­ter than two weeks ago.

Leish­man shared the 54-hole lead at the Dell Tech­nolo­gies Cham­pi­onship TPC Boston with Justin Thomas, who surged past Leish­man and held off Jor­dan Spi­eth. This time, no one could make a run at him on a warm day with a steady wind that made con­di­tions faster.

Fowler rolled in a 25-foot ea­gle putt from just short of the green on the open­ing hole, and made only one birdie the rest of the way. He missed putts from the six-foot range on con­sec­u­tive holes on the back nine, one of them for birdie, and couldn’t make birdie with an iron in his hand for his sec­ond on the par-5 18th.

Day pulled within two shots with a birdie at the turn, but played the back nine with eight pars and a bo­gey. He also had an iron for his sec­ond shot on the18th, but it plugged into the side of the bunker. Fowler and Day each shot 70. “Leish is play­ing spec­tac­u­lar,” Day said. “He’s go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult to beat (Sun­day.) I’ve got to come and play re­ally good golf.”

Macken­zie Hughes, of Dun­das, Ont., is the low Cana­dian at nine un­der af­ter a 69.

The ex­cite­ment fig­ured to come from the race to East Lake.

The top 30 in the FedEx Cup ad­vance to next week’s Tour Cham­pi­onship, where all have a math­e­mat­i­cal chance at the $10 mil­lion bonus and are as­sured spots in every ma­jor ex­cept the PGA Cham­pi­onship next year.

Phil Mick­el­son, fi­nally find­ing his form late in the year, has a chance to make it to the Tour Cham­pi­onship. He had a 69 — his sev­enth straight round in the 60s — but failed to take ad­van­tage of the eas­i­est par 4 — the reach­able 15th — and took bo­gey on both par 3s.

“I’m play­ing well enough to get in con­tention and win again,” said Mick­el­son, whose last tro­phy came from the Bri­tish Open in 2013.

Go­ing into Sun­day, Mas­ters cham­pion Ser­gio Garcia and a pair of PGA Tour rook­ies, Canada’s Hughes and Patrick Cant­lay, were pro­jected into top 30.

CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Marc Leish­man tees off at the fourth dur­ing third-round play at the BMW Cham­pi­onship on Saturday. He en­ters Sun­day’s fi­nal round with a five-shot lead.

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