Marc Leishman left his golf clubs in his garage during his week break from the FedEx Cup playoff and it didn’t change anything. He made 10 birdies in the opening round of the BMW Championship for a nine-under-par 62 to build a two-shot lead.
Jason Day made the biggest change of his career and had a 64, his best start in 16 months.
The race to the FedEx Cup finale got off to a blistering start Thursday at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Ill., and no one could top Leishman. The Australian finished third at the TPC Boston two weeks ago, did nothing last week except practice putting in the room above his garage, and then ran off seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch in the middle of his round and matched his best score on the PGA Tour.
“When you play golf and all you’re thinking about his making birdies, it’s a lot easier than trying to not make bogeys,” Leishman said.
Day made five birdies on the back nine to atone for a sluggish start.
Charley Hoffman, picked for the Presidents Cup a week ago, birdied his last two holes for a 64. Jamie Lovemark also had a 64 with a little more style, drilling a fairway metal over the creek to 8 feet for eagle on the par-five 18th.
Jordan Spieth, a runner-up in the last two FedEx Cup playoff events to take over the No. 1 spot in the standings, turned a wild tee shot into a birdie on the opening hole, added a 30-foot birdie from off the green at No. 5 and settled down the rest of the way for a bogey-free 65.
“I felt like I really stole a few shots out of this golf course, which is rare to feel like you scored better than you played,” Spieth said.
Also at 65 was Rickie Flower, who showed a streaky side. Fowler birdied the first hole. He bogeyed the second hole. He followed with nine straight pars. And then he ran off six straight birdies, capped by a 65-foot pitch from short of the 17th green.
Tony Finau, Keegan Bradley and Rafa Cabrera Bello also were at 65, while Phil Mickelson played bogey-free and opened with a 66.
The top 30 in the FedEx Cup after this week make it to the Tour Championship at East Lake for a mathematical shot at the $10-million bonus, with odds significantly higher depending on the position in the standings. The top five players — Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson already are assured that position — would only have to win at East Lake to claim golf’s richest prize.
Bad weather forces Evian Championship to 54-hole event
Rain and strong winds have forced Thursday’s play to be scrapped at the final women’s golf major of the season, which will start afresh on Friday as a 54-hole event.
LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan said what the little play was achieved Thursday morning at the Evian Championship is wiped from the record.
Whan announced the abandonment at 2:30 p.m. almost 4 1/2 hours after players had been called off the wind-swept course overlooking Lake Geneva.
“Nobody even played half a round,” Whan said, adding that a 54-hole championship finishing Sunday offered the “cleanest, fairest, most competitive” option.
“We know that if we said 72 holes and we start again tomorrow (Friday), we’re probably looking at Monday and Tuesday, and that’s not great for anyone,” Whan said.
KLM Open has rain-shortened opening round
Bernd Wiesberger and Richard Finch each shot five-under 66 to share the clubhouse lead after a rain-shortened opening round at the KLM Open in Spijk, Netherlands.
The leaders were among the early starters on Thursday and avoided the worst of the wind and driving rain that later flooded fairways and forced a suspension of play at the par-71 The Dutch course. The first round will resume early Friday.
Wiesberger says, “The conditions were really tough out there and although I gave away a couple of easy shots I am really happy with the score and the way I played.”
The man who beat Wiesberger into second place at the KLM Open last year, Joost Luiten, also started early but could not master the tricky conditions and slumped to a 4-over 75 that will leave him struggling to make the cut on Friday.
Kyrinis wins U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur title
Judith Kyrinis won the first all-Canadian final in USGA history, beating Terrill Samuel 4 and 3 on Thursday in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at Waverley Country Club.
“It’s very special, very surreal,” said the 53-year-old Kyrinis, a registered nurse and mother of three in suburban Toronto. “I don’t really believe that I’ve won yet.”
Kyrinis joined Gayle Borthwick (1996 and 1998) and Marlene Stewart Streit (2003) as the only Canadian champions in the event for players 50 and over. The 56-year-old Samuel is a teacher in the Toronto area.