LAKE FOREST, Ill. — As much as Marc Leishman has been through, especially off the golf course, it takes a lot to get to get under his skin. He tells his wife that even after a particularly bad round, give him 10 minutes and he’ll be fine.
His last tournament, when Leishman lost a two-shot lead on the back nine at the TPC Boston, was an exception.
“That one probably took a day,” he said. “It stung a bit.”
Saturday at the BMW Championship brought Leishman on the verge of redemption.
Leishman got up-and-down from a tough lie behind the 18th green for one last birdie that gave him a 3-under 68 and extended his lead to five shots over Jason Day and Rickie Fowler going into the final round at Conway Farms.
Leishman, who was at 19-under 194, 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 a clear 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 Dell Technologies Championship TPC Boston with Justin Thomas, who surged past Leishman and held off Jordan Spieth. This time, no one could make a run at him on a warm day with a steady wind that made conditions faster and more difficult.
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 6-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-5 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.
“Leish is playing spectacular,” Day said. “He’s going to be very difficult to beat tomorrow. I’ve got to come and play really good golf because he’s not making any mistakes. He’s hitting it in the right spots, hitting in on the greens and holing putts. That’s a good formula for success.”
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.
Jutanugarn leads at Evian, aims at majors record
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France — Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand shot 3-under 68 to lead the Evian Championship second round on Saturday, 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 9-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 Moriya — who has a career-best finish of 10th at a major — would make the Jutanugarns the first sisters to win a major 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.
“I probably don’t feel that bad playing on the golf course rather than watching my sister play,” said Moriya, who recalled feeling “nervous, excited” last year when finishing her round to watch Ariya win at Woburn, England.
Two pairs of brothers have won major titles, though not for more than 50 years.
Lionel and Jay Hebert of the United States each won a U.S. PGA Championship, in 1957 and 1960, respectively. The Park brothers of Scotland, Mungo and Willie, won back-to-back British Opens in 1874 and ‘75. That was Willie Park’s fourth Open title.
The fifth women’s major of the season is a 54-hole event after weather-affected play on Thursday was wiped from the record.
Moriya had chances to match her 65 from Friday’s first round though let birdie chances slip after consistently accurate approach shots.
“I played pretty solid today,” Moriya said, “couldn’t make a little more putts.”
Uehara is ranked only No. 163 yet her 14 birdies so far are two more than anyone else on the rain-softened Evian Resort course looking across Lake Geneva to Switzerland.
A strong trio of recent major winners are on 6 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-4 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 2 over. Ryu acknowledged letting it affect her that she had been leading on Thursday when play was suspended and then scrapped.
“It was really hard to stop (thinking) about it,” the top-ranked Ryu said. “For my situation it was unfair. I just need to just accept it.”
Ariya won’t be playing on Sunday when her sister chases history. A second-round 74 left her 9 over and far below the cut line.
Defending champion In Gee Chun of South Korea, whose 21-under total then set a majors record, shot a second straight 70 to be 2 under.