For much of the 2016-2017 season, Jason Day hasn’t looked like the player who took over the No. 1 ranking in the world and looked unbeatable not too long ago. The guy who won seven times in an 11-month span from 2015 to 2016, including a six-shot victory at the 2015 BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Ill.
Perhaps the tournament’s return to the Tom Fazio-designed track was what the Australian needed to salvage his season. After posting an opening-round seven-under 64, Day followed it up with a six-under 65 on Friday, putting him at 13-under 129, three shots behind leader Marc Leishman.
Once again Day got off to a shaky start, making bogey at the par-3 second and another at the par-4 fourth. But four birdies on his next six holes erased those dropped shots, and then an eagle chip-in at the par-5 14th moved him to four under on his round. Then came the shot of his round, week and year at the par-3 17th, a 189-yard 7-iron that bounced out of the rough and into the cup for an ace.
RELATED: Watch Jason Day ace par-3 17th at BMW Championship
It’s the first time Day has posted consecutive rounds of 65 or lower since the 2015 BMW Championship. He’s now 46-under in his 10 career rounds at Conway Farms.
Leishman, 33, has been more impressive, though, following up his first-round nine-under 62 with a seven-under 64 to take a three stroke lead at 16-under 126. The Australian’s 18 birdies rank first in the field, as well as his total strokes gained, strokes gained: tee to green and strokes gained: around the green.
Tied with Day at 13-under is Rickie Fowler, who posted a seven-under 64. For the second straight day, the four-time PGA Tour winner caught fire late in his round, playing the final seven holes in five under with three birdies and an eagle two on the short par-4 15th. He’s now played holes 12 through 17 in 11-under par over the first two rounds.
Patrick Cantlay is six back at 10-under 132 after carding a six-under 65 that featured just one bogey, his only dropped shot on his first 36 holes. Despite playing in just 11 events this season on a major medical extension, Cantlay entered the week at 41st in the FedEx Cup standings and has put himself in great position to qualify for his first Tour Championship. He’s projected inside the top 30 at 22nd.
RELATED: 5 longshots that could still win the FedEx Cup
Stewart Cink and Francesco Molinari, who each entered the week outside the top 30, are tied for fifth at nine-under 133.
Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth are among a group nine back at seven-under 135.
WATCH: GOLF DIGEST VIDEOS