LAKE FOREST, Ill. – With nine holes to go at the Dell Technologies Championship, Marc Leishman appeared to be on cruise control and heading toward his second win of the season. While those hopes were quickly dashed, Leishman wasted little time in returning to the top of the leaderboard.
The Aussie struggled down the stretch at TPC Boston, posting a final-round 70 that included an outward 30 and a 40 on his inward half. He ended up alone in third place after being passed on the back nine by both Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
But given a week off to lick his wounds, Leishman got right back to business at the BMW Championship where he opened with a 9-under 62 to take a two-shot lead over Jason Day, Charley Hoffman and Jamie Lovemark.
“Game is feeling pretty good at the moment,” Leishman said. “Rolling the ball really well, making just all the putts you should and then a couple of longer ones per round. So feeling good, confidence is high and hopefully can just ride the wave.”
Leishman carded 10 birdies on the day, including five in a six-hole stretch from Nos. 7-12 that followed his only bogey of the day and gave him the lead. He missed only two greens in regulation and picked up 3.149 strokes over the field on the greens.
Leishman has not played the Tour Championship since his rookie year in 2009, but his finish two weeks ago ensured that he’ll again return to East Lake next week. Now he has set his sights on snagging a coveted spot in the top five in the points race, a position that will guarantee he wins the FedExCup if he wins the season’s final tournament.
Leishman started the week at No. 7, but a win would project him up as high as No. 4 in the standings. In short, the reigning Arnold Palmer Invitational winner has picked a great time to start playing his best golf of the year.
“I did have a look at it, actually. I think I probably need another second or third to get into the top five, I think. I’m not a mathematician," he said. “It’s similar to the situation today where you’re trying not to think about the end result, just trying to worry about this tournament at the moment and then see how we end up.”