The Associated Press
LAKE FOREST, Ill.–The clutch shots down the stretch in the BMW Championship belonged to everyone except the winner.
Marc Leishman didn’t really need them.
Staked to a five-shot lead, and determined to not let another FedEx Cup playoff event get away from him, Leishman never gave anyone much of a chance yesterday at Conway Farms.
And when Justin Rose made a late run to close within two shots, Leishman made back-to-back birdies to put away the final challenge–then added one more for a four-under 67 to set the tournament scoring record.
Leishman went wire-to-wire for the first time on the PGA Tour. And the Australian moved up to No. 4 in the FedEx Cup, giving him a clear shot at the $10-million bonus next week.
He also moved into the top 15 in the world.
But this mainly was about redemption for losing a two-shot lead on the back nine at the TPC Boston two weeks ago.
“When the pressure got put on that back nine by ‘Rosie,’ I reacted with birdies,” Leishman said.
“Didn’t get too worried,” he added. “Just tried to keep doing my own thing and give myself chances. . . .
“Backing up what happened [in Boston] was probably the most satisfying thing for me,” noted Leishman.
“I was just really determined to not let that happen again.”
Leishman finished at 23-under 261, breaking the 72-hole tournament record that Tiger Woods set at Cog Hill in 2007.
Rose ran out of hope when he made bogey on the par-three 17th and closed with a 65.
Rickie Fowler ran off three-straight birdies only after he was too far back and shot 67.
They both finished five shots behind.
Fowler needed a birdie on the par-five 18th to grab the No. 5 seed for the FedEx Cup finale next week at the Tour Championship.
He ripped driver off the fairway and over the stream to the back rough.
It was a bold play that preceded a pair of meagre efforts–a chip that came up 25 feet short and a birdie putt that didn’t get to the hole.
Jon Rahm birdied four of his last five holes for a 67 and will be the No. 5 seed.
Jordan Spieth shot 65 to tie for seventh and kept the No. 1 seed, followed by Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Leishman, and Rahm.
The points are reset to give all 30 players at East Lake a mathematical chance, but the top five seeds only have to win the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. shot up the leaderboard yesterday after shooting a 65 to finish as the low Canadian at seven-under.
But Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont. struggled to a three-over 74 and was six-under for the event.
As usual, the only drama at Conway Farms was who made it to East Lake–and a pair of PGA Tour rookies delivered.
Xander Schauffele, who won The Greenbrier Classic in July, opened with 10 pars and two bogeys and was not even in the picture until the San Diego native played his final six holes in six-under par, including a 30-foot eagle when he drove the green on the par-four 15th.
“A dream year for me,” Schauffele said.
“Pretty much every goal I came up with and I’ve got to start creating some new ones.”
Patrick Cantlay fell out of the top 30 when he took bogey on the 16th hole.
Needing a birdie to get into the Tour Championship, he hit a hybrid onto the green to 50 feet, left his eagle attempt some 10 feet short, and calmly holed the putt to get in.
Tony Finau wasn’t sure what he needed, but knew a bogey wasn’t going to help and he was nestled in the rough behind the green after his third shot.
But Finau, No. 39 in the standings, chipped in for birdie and a 64 to move into the top 30.
“To see it go in was . . . man, the feeling that I have is pretty fantastic,” Finau said.