BMW Championship: Marc Leishman grabs first-round lead


Marc Leishman is off to a strong start — again.

Two weeks after the Australian grabbed the 54-hole co-lead en route to a third-place finish at the Dell Technologies Championship, Leishman fired a 9-under-par 62 to take a two-shot lead after one round at the BMW Championship.

“It gives you confidence,” Leishman said of his recent run of strong play after firing 10 birdies opposite one bogey Thursday at the 7,198-yard course at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.

“When you play golf and all you’re thinking about is making birdies it’s a lot easier than trying to not make bogies.”

Leishman, the No. 22-ranked player in the world, is seeking his third PGA Tour victory and his first since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He is currently projected to rise from seventh to third in the FedExCup Playoffs standings, with only the Tour Championship left to play next weekend.

“It’s nice when you can get on a run like this and hopefully I can keep it going,” Leishman said.

Fellow countryman Jason Day fired an opening-round 64 and headlines a three-way tie for second place with Charley Hoffman and Jamie Lovemark.

Jordan Spieth, the world No. 2 who entered No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, carded a 65 and is tied for fifth with world No. 10 Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Tony Finau and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Phil Mickelson shot a 66 and is part of a four-way tie for 10th along with Russell Henley, Webb Simpson and Australia’s Cameron Smith.

“I felt like I really stole a few shots out of this golf course which is rare, right, to feel like you scored better than you played,” Spieth said after his bogey-free, six-birdie round. “So, obviously very pleased with that and some work to do to stay in front or stay towards the front.”

One of Spieth’s playing partner, defending BMW champion and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, stumbled to a day-one 71 after a double–bogey and three bogeys, placing him in a seven-way tie for 49th place.

Both were taken aback by Leishman’s impressive start.

“Leish, what a fantastic round,” Spieth said. “He ended up with 9, didn’t he? DJ and I were talking about that on 16.”

Dell Technologies Championship winner Justin Thomas opened with a 67 to place himself in a large tie for 14th. Defending FedExCup champion and world No. 6 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shot a 56 and is tied for 72nd.


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