Over the first two days at the BMW Championship, Jason Day’s return to his old self was the story. Meanwhile, Marc Leishman was playing better than anyone in the field, posting rounds of 62 and 64 to take the solo lead. That didn’t change in the third round Saturday, with the six-foot-two Australian carding a three-under 68 to open up a five-shot lead at 19-under 194.
Leishman, 33, mentioned after his round on Friday that he always feels a bit under-the-radar in the states. In terms of name recognition, he has a point, but his game is up there with the top players in the world. His resume speaks for itself, with two PGA Tour victories, one European Tour victory and four top-six finishes in majors, including his 2015 Open Championship playoff loss to Zach Johnson.
A victory on Sunday at Conway Farms would be further proof Leishman should be recognized as one of the top players in golf. This week, he ranks first in the field in birdies with 23, and first in total strokes gained. If he can convert on the first outright 54-hole lead of his career, it’ll be his third victory on the PGA Tour, and second this season.
Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, meanwhile, shot matching one-under 70s and are tied for second at 14-under 199. Day wasn’t able to get much going, making just two birdies and a bogey. Fowler’s round featured an eagle on his opening hole, but not much after that, with just one birdie and two bogeys.
Seven back in solo fourth at 12-under 201 is England’s Justin Rose, who posted his low round of the week, a bogey-free five-under 66. Rose had been struggling since his Masters runner-up finish, missing three of his next six cuts and finishing no higher than T-54 on the PGA Tour. But the playoffs have rejuvenated the 2013 U.S. Open champ, who now has a chance to finish inside the top 10 for a third straight time with a good finish on Sunday.
Jon Rahm is among a group of seven players tied for fifth at 11-under 202. The Spaniard carded the round of the day along with four others, a six-under 65 that featured seven birdies and a bogey. The low round saw him vault 24 spots up the leader board, but he’s projected to remain at fifth in the standings. Much like Rose, Rahm has found some form in the playoffs, finishing T-3 at the Northern Trust and T-4 at the Dell Technologies Championship.
Three players are at 10-under 203, including Stewart Cink, who shot a one-under 70. The 44-year-old entered the week at 57th in the standings, and still has work left to crack the top 30 and earn a spot at the Tour Championship. He’s projected at 46th and looking to make it to the final leg of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Phil Mickelson, projected at 33rd, and Sergio Garcia, projected at 27th, are tied for 15th at nine-under 204.
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