MARC Leishman and Jason Day have produced stunning individual performances to set up an all-Australian final grouping for the BMW Championship’s third round.
The Australian contingent at Conway Farms had a superb day out with Cameron Smith joining Leishman and Day inside the top-10 through 36 holes. Leishman backed up his opening nine-under-par 62 with a hot 64 on day two, with a 16-under total increasing his lead to three shots over world No.9 Day, who produced a hole-in-one during a 65, and world No.10 Rickie Fowler (64).
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Day, who replaced long-time caddie Colin Swatton for close mate Luke Reardon on tournament eve, sits at 13-under and will play in the final group with and Leishman on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. It will be different not to see ‘Swatto’ on Jason’s bag but I’m really looking forward to playing with him. Hopefully we can feed off each other and make a few birdies,” Leishman told AAP.
Day, who won the 2015 BMW by six shots, hit a stellar 7-iron to ace the 189-yard par-3 17th at Conway Farms Club only moments after a chip-in eagle at the par-5 14th.
Day’s 65 was remarkable given he hit just seven of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens in regulation, leading the former world No.1 to believe his best golf is yet to come with a hot putter.
“I think so; I gave 100 per cent today. But those (ball-striking) statistics aren’t great,” Day said.
“If I can give myself more birdie looks that’d be nice. I missed a putt on 16 and a short putt for birdie on 18 for birdie. That’s two shots I could have had.” Leishman has been the form Australian on Tour this year with a win and six top-10 results, but the 33-year-old Victorian says he’ll draw inspiration from a memorable round in Chicago with Tiger Woods as he chases a third PGA Tour victory.
“I’ve played a lot of golf in Chicago; in 2009 it was my first time playing with Tiger. I played really well and that was probably one of the most memorable days I ever had on a golf course,” Leishman said.
Rounding out the Australian contingent is Brisbane native Smith, who picked up three shots with a 68 to move to eight-under and in a tie for seventh. The BMW Championship is the penultimate event of the PGA Tour’s $US67 million FedEx Cup series and will determine the all-important top-five seedings for next week’s Tour Championship in Atlanta.
The top-five seeds are guaranteed to win the $US10 million FedEx bonus prize should they claim the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.