Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Marc Leishman maintains lead at BMW Championship

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — As much as Marc Leishman has been through, especially off the golf course, it takes a lot to get under his skin. He tells his wife that even after a particularly bad round, give him 10 minutes and he'll be fine.

His last 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 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 at 19-under 194, gets another chance to win a FedEx Cup playoff event and grab one of the top five seeds at the PGA Tour Championship next week. The top seeds have a clear path to claim the $10 million bonus.

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 and more difficult.

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 6-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 shot on the par-5 18th.

Day pulled within two shots with birdie at the turn but played the back nine with eight pars and bogey. He also had an iron for his second shot on the 18th, 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 (today). I've got to come and play really good golf because he's not making any mistakes. He's hitting it in the right spots, hitting in on the greens and holing putts. That's a good formula for success."

LPGA: Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand shot 3-under 68 to lead the Evian Championship second round in Evian-Les-Bains, France, and could join younger sister Ariya as the first sisters to each win a major title. Moriya's 9-under 133 total left her one shot ahead of Ayako Uehara of Japan, who had seven birdies in her round of 66. The fifth major of the season is a 54-hole event after weather-affected play Thursday was wiped from the record. First-round leader Sung Hyun Park followed her 63 with 73.

CHAMPIONS: David McKenzie birdied the final six even-numbered holes for 7-under 64 and a share of the lead with Jerry Smith in the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship in Victoria, British Columbia. McKenzie began the unique run on the par-4 eighth and matched Smith at 12-under 130. Smith, tied for the first-round lead with Steve Flesch, followed his opening 64 with 66. Flesch had 70 to drop into a tie for sixth at 8 under.