Leishman knows consistency is key

CHICAGO • BMW Championship leader Marc Leishman vowed to atone for his crushing defeat last fortnight in Boston, after taking a step closer to his first wire-to-wire victory on the PGA Tour.

The 33-year-old fired five birdies in a three-under 68 on Saturday to stretch his lead to five strokes over fellow Australian Jason Day and American Rickie Fowler at Conway Farms in Illinois.

He capped his third round with a birdie at the par-five 18th to total 194 and put himself in prime position to seize a third US PGA Tour title. The most recent of those titles came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.

However, he remembered coming up short at TPC Boston two weeks ago - when he went into the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship sharing the lead with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

After two birdies and two bogeys in his first seven holes, he birdied the eighth hole to make the turn at one under for the day. He picked up two more birdies coming in but faded to finish third .

"Putting four good rounds together (is the biggest challenge)" Leishman said.

"A lot of tournaments you put three rounds together. May not be in a row. Very easy to throw a mediocre round in there. Tomorrow I've got to try not to do that.

"After what happened at the Dell (in Boston), I've got extra determination to finish this one off and my game is in a better spot. I feel like this course sets up for me a little better than it did at Dell.

"Hopefully I can just play well, do the right things and not worry about the result too much, as hard as that will be."

Records suggest he can get the job done. Of the 13 times a player has held a 54-hole lead of five shots or more during the past five years, 11 have gone on to win.

Day, who played in the final group with Leishman on Saturday, said beating his in-form compatriot was going to be a tough task.

"Leish is playing spectacular; he's going to be very difficult to beat," he said.

"He's hitting it in the right spots on the greens and holing putts. That's a good formula for success."

Day and Fowler both carded 70s on Saturday. England's Justin Rose signed for a 66 that put him in solo fourth on 201. Spain's Jon Rahm carded a 65 to head a group of seven players on 202.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2017, with the headline 'Leishman knows consistency is key'. Print Edition | Subscribe