Marc Leishman got up and down from a tough lie behind the 18th green for one last birdie that gave him a three-under-par 68 and extended his lead to five shots over Jason Day and Rickie Fowler going into the final round of the BMW Championship.
Leishman gets another chance to win a FedEx Cup playoff event and grab one of the top five seeds at the Tour Championship next week. The top seeds have the clearest path to claim the $10-million bonus.
And this opportunity is much better than two weeks ago.
Leishman shared the 54-hole lead at the TPC Boston with Justin Thomas, who surged past Leishman and held off Jordan Spieth. This time, no one could make a run at him Saturday on a warm day with a steady wind at Conway Farms.
Fowler rolled in a 25-foot eagle putt from just short of the green on the opening hole, and made only one birdie the rest of the way. He missed putts from the six-foot range on consecutive holes on the back nine, one of them for birdie, and couldn’t make birdie with an iron in his hand for his second shot on the par-five 18th.
Day pulled within two shots with a birdie at the turn, but played the back nine with eight pars and a bogey. He also had an iron for his second shot on the 18th, but it plugged into the side of the bunker.
Fowler and Day each shot 70.
Leishman was at 19-under 194 after the kind of round that limited the possibilities for the final day. No one else was closer than seven shots of the affable Australian. Justin Rose had a 66 and was at 12-under 201, while Jon Rahm had a 65 and was in a large group at 11-under 202, eight shots out of the lead.
The excitement figured to come from the race to East Lake.
The top 30 in the FedEx Cup advance to next week’s Tour Championship, where all have a mathematical chance at the $10-million bonus and are assured spots in every major except the PGA Championship next year.
Moriya Jutanugarn on verge of first major LPGA title
Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand shot three-under 68 to lead the Evian Championship after the second round and could join her younger sister Ariya in golf’s record book. Seeking to be the first sisters to win a major title, Moriya’s nine-under total left her one shot ahead of Ayako Uehara of Japan, who had seven birdies in her round of 66.
The leading group on Sunday is completed by Katherine Kirk of Australia, who carded a 69 to trail Moriya by two strokes. All three playing partners will seek their first major.
Victory for the Moriya — who as a career-best finish of 10th at a major — would make the Jutanugarns the first sisters to win a Grand Slam title since the U.S. LPGA Tour was founded 67 years ago. Ariya, who was top-ranked this season, won the 2016 Women’s British Open.
A strong trio of recent major winners are at six under, three shots back, and will play together on Sunday. First-round leader Sung Hyun Park, the U.S. Women’s Open champion, followed her 63 with a 73. Former No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, the 2015 Evian winner, carded a second 68. Women’s British Open winner In-Kyung Kim bogeyed the par-four 18th in her round of 69.
Park has already played two days in a stellar group of the world’s three highest-ranked players with No. 1 So Yeon Ryu, her fellow South Korean, and No. 2 Lexi Thompson of the U.S. Thompson (72) is level par and Ryu shot a 69 to make the cut at two over. Ryu acknowledged letting it affect her that she had been leading on Thursday when play was suspended and then scrapped.
McKenzie closes strong at Champions event
David McKenzie birdied the final six even-numbered holes for a seven-under 64 and a share of the lead with Jerry Smith on Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions’ Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship.
McKenzie, the 50-year-old Australian who Tuesday qualified to get in the field, began the unique run on the par-four eighth and added birdies on Nos. 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 to match Smith at 12-under 130 on Bear Mountain’s Mountain Course in Victoria, Canada.
Smith, tied for the first-round lead with Steve Flesch, followed his opening 64 with a 66. Jerry Kelly was a stroke back after a 66. Flesch had a 70 to drop into a tie for sixth at eight under.
Charles Schwab Cup points leader Bernhard Langer also was at eight under after a 69. Coming off a two-week break, the 60-year-old German star won three of the tour’s five majors and is tied with Scott McCarron for tour victory lead with four.
John Daly, a stroke back after an opening 65, had two triple bogeys in a 79 to tumble into a tie for 60th at two over.
Kiradech moves into lead at KLM Open
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand birdied his last hole to card five-under-par 66 and take the lead after the third round of the KLM Open in Spijk, Netherlands. He birdied four of his first eight holes and went around in regulation pars until his final-hole birdie.
Kiradech’s 14-under total gave him a one-shot lead over Romain Wattel of France, who posted a seven-under 64 to move to 13 under. Wattel had to play nine holes of his rain-delayed second round in the morning before shooting seven birdies in a blemish-free third round at The Dutch.
French rookie Joel Stalter was third after a two-under 69 took him to 12 under. Lee Westwood birdied his final hole to finish the day two shots off the lead at 11 under, tied with Sebastian Heisele of Germany and Joakim Lagergren.