Leish­man stretches lead at BMW Cham­pi­onship

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

CHICAGO: Marc Leish­man fired eight birdies in a seven-un­der 64 on Fri­day to stretch his lead in the BMW Cham­pi­onship to three strokes over fel­low Aussie Ja­son Day and Rickie Fowler.

Af­ter his only bo­gey of the day at the par-three 17th, Leish­man birdied the par-five 18th at Con­way Farms to com­plete 36 holes at 16un­der par 126.

“I’m pretty happy with back­ing up a 62 with a 64,” said Leish­man, who started the day with a two stroke lead.

Four birdies on each side en­sured Leish­man fin­ished the day atop the leader­board de­spite the strong per­for­mances of Day and Fowler.

“I re­ally took that as a chal­lenge to­day, to not take it for granted that you’re just go­ing to make birdies,” added Leish­man, whose two US PGA Tour ti­tles in­clude this year’s Arnold Palmer In­vi­ta­tional.

“You still have to earn ev­ery birdie. I think when you do get ahead of your­self, that’s when bad stuff can hap­pen.”

For­mer world num­ber one Day, seek­ing his first vic­tory in more than a year, carded a six-un­der 65, ben­e­fit­ing from what he called a “lucky” hole-in-one at the parthree 17th -- where his tee shot hit in front of the green, bounced and rolled in.

“We were try­ing to land it 182 (yards) and I kind of pushed it,” said Day, who won the 2015 ti­tle at Con­way Farms. “It was a lucky hole-in-one, I guess.

“It’s been, I think, 10 years since last time I had a hole-in­one,” added Day, who had al­ready chipped in for ea­gle at the par-five 14th. “I’ve had two ea­gles and a hole-in-one this week al­ready, so ev­ery­thing’s come in bunches.”

Fowler also fin­ished strong, with three birdies and an ea­gle from the 13th through 17th of a 64 for 129.

Amer­i­can Pa­trick Cant­lay was alone in fourth af­ter a 65 for 132.

Bri­tish Open champion Jor­dan Spi­eth, who topped the FedEx Cup stand­ings com­ing into the penul­ti­mate event of the US PGA Tour’s four-tour­na­ment play­off se­ries, carded a one-un­der par 70 to lie nine shots off the pace on 135.

Spi­eth played the first two rounds along­side PGA Cham­pi­onship win­ner Justin Thomas and world num­ber one Dustin John­son -who came into the tour­na­ment se­cond and third in the race for the $10 mil­lion play­off bonus that will be up for grabs at next week’s Tour Cham­pi­onship.

Thomas also carded a 70 that left him in a group on 137 while John­son closed with back-to­back bo­geys in a 72 that left him lan­guish­ing on one-over 143.

It was a dis­ap­point­ing fin­ish for de­fend­ing champion John­son, who needed two chips to get out of the green­side rough at 17, and was in the wa­ter at the fi­nal hole.

North­ern Ire­land’s Rory McIl­roy saw his slim hopes of de­fend­ing the FedEx Cup play­off ti­tle dwin­dle fur­ther as his se­cond-round 69 left him 15 off the lead.

McIl­roy came into the tour­na­ment in 51st place in the play­off stand­ings, with only the top 30 af­ter this week’s tour­na­ment ad­vanc­ing to the Tour Cham­pi­onship in At­lanta.

“It’s hard be­cause I know that re­al­is­ti­cally there’s not much chance of get­ting in next week, but I still want to go out there and play well,” McIl­roy said. “I’m here, so I might as well try to play well and try to get the most out of my­self.” - AFP

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