Leishman puts himself in FedExCup mix with BMW title

CHICAGO • Golfer Marc Leishman fired a final-round 67 on Sunday to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the BMW Championship, beating Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler by five strokes.

The Australian had seized control of the penultimate event in the PGA Tour's FedExCup play-offs with a scintillating 62 on Thursday.

He started the fourth round at Conway Farms in Illinois with a five-stroke lead that twice dwindled to two shots over Rose before he finished confidently, with birdies in three of the last four holes.

He rolled in a 19-footer from the fringe at the 72nd hole to celebrate his third PGA Tour title with a 23-under total of 261.

The victory was a vindication for Leishman after he was unable to close out a win two weeks ago at TPC Boston, where his challenge was doomed by five bogeys on the back nine.

"There's probably a few little scars from two weeks ago," he said. "I was really determined to not let that happen again, to try and give myself a big-enough buffer that I could get it done.

"And I got it done."

Leishman's 261 was a record total for the tournament and his 23-under tied the tournament low in relation to par, set by Dustin Johnson last year.

The 33-year-old, who is genial and non-controversial, reacted to news that he bettered Tiger Woods' BMW Championship record of 22 under by calling the feat "nice".

"Marc's a world-class player now," American Fowler said. "He's got the power, hits it plenty far. He's definitely not someone you look past. Maybe that's been the case in the past."

England's Rose had seven birdies - and an ill-timed bogey at the 17th hole - in a 65 for 266.

Fowler had five birdies in his 67 to join Rose on 18 under.

Former world No. 1 Jason Day of Australia was alone in fourth after a 69 for 268.

Leishman, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, moved to fourth in the FedExCup standings going into the season-ending Tour Championship this week.

All 30 players who qualified for the Atlanta finale can still win the the US$10 million (S$13 million) bonus, but victory for the top five - Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Johnson, Leishman and Jon Rahm - will give them the Cup outright.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2017, with the headline 'Leishman puts himself in FedExCup mix with BMW title'. Print Edition | Subscribe