Leishman seals the deal at BMW
September 17, 2017
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Marc Leishman's extended highlights | Round 4 | BMW Championship
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Notes and observations from Sunday’s final round of the BMW Championship, where Australian Marc Leishman shot 67 to salt away his third PGA TOUR victory at age 33. Justin Rose shot 65 and briefly pressured the winner before finishing tied for second with Rickie Fowler (67), five shots back, and Jason Day (69) was fourth alone.
For more coverage from Conway Farms Golf Club, click here for the Daily Wrap-up.
LEISHMAN GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE
Leishman’s 194 (-19) through three rounds was the second-lowest opening 54 holes this season, but a five-shot lead is not insurmountable. Three weeks earlier, at THE NORTHERN TRUST, Jordan Spieth had built a five-shot lead Sunday only to lose to Dustin Johnson in a playoff.
Indeed, there were some tense moments at the BMW, but no one got closer to two shots, and Leishman birdied three of his final four holes to finish with the same big lead he started with.
Around the TOUR, Leishman is known as a “good bloke” who is understated, underrated, and as down-to-earth as they come. After his third-round 68, Leishman spoke about working the graveyard shift in a factory back in Australia. He was 18 or 19, needed money for tournament entry fees, and used a laser cutter to shape sheets of metal. After going from work to the golf course, he was so tired he once slept 18 straight hours. He lasted only a week or two on the job.
Leishman and his wife Audrey, who nearly died of sepsis in 2015, spearheaded National Sepsis Month to spread awareness about a disease that is estimated to kill 250,000 people in the U.S. each year. Their Begin Again Foundation, which helps families that have been affected by sepsis and toxic shock syndrome, has impacted some 700 families in the last year and a half. In July, Audrey gave birth to the couple’s third child, Eva, whom they call their “miracle baby.”
On a lighter note, Leishman has beer and pizza sent to NBC cameraman Murrill Boney on Saturday night. It was Boney who unwittingly became part of a video clip that went viral when he raised his leg to allow Leishman’s shanked chip shot to go between his legs at the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston two weeks ago. “If that ball hits him, it goes back in the hazard,” Leishman said. “He saved me a lot of money.”
Leishman’s playing partner Fowler opened with two straight birdies, but stalled with 10 straight pars. Day mounted a charge with three straight birdies to get within four, but drowned his tee shot at the watery par-3 11th. Then came Rose, who cut it to two before Leishman, who settled down after some loose shots on the front nine, responded with birdies at 15, 16 and 18.
The winner moved from seventh to fourth in the FedExCup standings.
GOOD SIGNS FOR INTERNATIONALS
Louis Oosthuizen did not win or even come close, but he was feeling chipper about his finish nonetheless. He considered withdrawing from the tournament as he suffered from flu-like symptoms during rounds of 77-74 Thursday and Friday. After waking up Saturday feeling fine, Oosthuizen shot 66-67 on the weekend to get back to even par.
That would get him a handful of FedExCup points, and Oosthuizen was told by a TOUR official that he would likely bounce in and out of the top 30 all afternoon. With his fate hanging in the balance, he flew home to West Palm Beach, Florida, only to later learn he finished 31st and would not qualify for East Lake and the season-ending TOUR Championship.
“Played well on the weekend,” Oosthuizen said. “Could’ve had loads more birdies today and yesterday, but I’m pleased, in general. I didn’t have much momentum going into Saturday, had a lot to do. I thought if I could get to 2-under I wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else.
“I don’t know if I was coming down with the flu or something. I felt horrible. I had no energy, wasn’t hitting it anywhere, was struggling everywhere. I was thinking about not playing Friday.”
It turned out to be good that he did, if only to give him some positive momentum going into one of the most important tournaments all year. Oosthuizen’s more Louis-like form on the weekend provided reason for optimism for the International team as it prepares to take on the U.S. at the Presidents Cup at Liberty National, Sept. 28-Oct. 1.
This, as pundits were already taking note of a surging Leishman and a suddenly revitalized Day. What’s more, captain’s pick Anirban Lahiri of India, who needed a miracle to make the TOUR Championship, actually came close with weekend scores of 68-66 to tie for ninth at the BMW.
“Anyone having good form going into next week and Presidents Cup for our side is going to be great,” Oosthuizen said. “Leish has been playing well for a while, and it’s great seeing Jason’s name up there. If he can get going, he can be the best asset on the team to have.”
CALL OF THE DAY
SPIETH PLEASED WITH FINISH
Jordan Spieth came into the BMW on the strength of back-to-back runner-up finishes, so his no-bogey 65 and T7 finish Sunday was bittersweet.
On the one hand, Spieth may have played his best golf of the week, and he’ll go into next week’s TOUR Championship at No. 1 in the FedExCup Playoffs. But on the other hand, Spieth never seriously contended after following up a first-round 65 with middle rounds of 70-71.
“Absolutely,” Spieth said, when asked whether he believes in the value of momentum from one week to the next. “I shot two bogey-free, 6-under rounds. I know the way I've been playing in the last few months, I know that that golf is still there, it's just a matter of going out and executing and these rounds in between.”
Jon Rahm (67, T5) did the best of the top five in the FedExCup, for whom it was a relatively flat week. All five maintained their positions with the exception of Hideki Matsuyama, who went from fourth to seventh after a final-round 69 and a T47 finish. Leishman took over in fourth.
“I felt like today was a slight improvement on yesterday and I made a few more putts,” said Spieth, who started with two birdies in his first three holes. “Really good start. It was a round that could have been extra special.”
ODDS AND ENDS
Phil Mickelson waited for some 20 minutes while playing partner Sergio Garcia got a ruling on the 18th hole. Asked for his thoughts during the delay, Mickelson said: “I was thinking this is what my playing partners go through most of the time.” Was it hard to wait? “No,” Mickelson said after making birdie for a 70 (T20). “I needed that extra 38 minutes to read that putt.” …
Playing by himself in the 7:30 a.m. tee time Sunday, Wes Bryan shot a final-round 69 in just an hour and 29 minutes. He finished 69th in the 70-man field (Danny Lee withdrew with a back injury) and will finish his season 41st in the FedExCup standings. …
Rory McIlroy will become the eighth defending FedExCup champion to not make it back to East Lake and the TOUR Championship the following year. McIlroy, who went winless this season, began the week at 51st in the FedExCup and needed to at least contend at Conway Farms, but shot a final-round 71 to finish T58. He ends his season at 58th in the FedExCup. …
Kevin Na shot the low round of the day, an 8-under 63, but it was too little, too late. Brooks Koepka later matched him with his own 63, shooting up the leaderboard to finish T12.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Phil Mickelson shows off his short game magic on No. 15 at BMW
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
❤️ One for the whole family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IoHQlmnFPN— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 17, 2017