Leishman fends off Rose to win BMW Championship

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CHICAGO: Marc Leishman fired a final-round 67 on Sunday (Monday in Manila) to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the BMW Championship, beating Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler by five strokes.

Australia’s Leishman had seized control of the penultimate event in the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs with a scintillating 62 on Thursday.

He started the fourth round at Conway Farms with a five stroke lead that twice dwindled to two shots over Rose before Leishman finished confidently, with birdies in three of the last four holes.

He rolled in a 19-footer from the fringe at the 72nd hole to celebrate his third US PGA Tour title with a 23-under par total of 261.


Marc Leishman of Australia reacts to a birdie on the 15th green during the final round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club on Monday in Lake Forest, Illinois. AFP PHOTO

The victory was a vindication after Leishman was unable to close out a win two weeks ago at TPC Boston, where his challenge was doomed by five bogeys on the back nine.

“There’s probably a few little scars from two weeks ago,” Leishman said. “I was really determined to not let that happen again, to try and give myself a big enough buffer that I could get it done.

“And I got it done.”

Leishman’s 261 was a record total for the tournament and his 23-under tied the tournament low in relation to par, set by Dustin Johnson last year.

England’s Rose had seven birdies — and an ill-timed bogey at 17 — in a 65 for 266.

Fowler had five birdies in his four-under 67 to join Rose on 18-under.

Former world number one Jason Day of Australia was alone in fourth after a 69 for 268.

Leishman, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, moved to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings going into the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Only the top 30 players in the standings advance to the season finale, where a $10 million playoff bonus will be up for grabs.

Garcia East Lake bound
The four players who moved into the top 30 this week included Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who jumped from 34th to 25th in the standings with a tie for 12th.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson came up just short in his bid to book a Tour Championship berth.

Garcia was embroiled in a lengthy rules discussion at the 18th, where his second shot landed on the rocks aside a creek.

Eventually the Spaniard took a drop and made a par that was enough to punch his Tour Championship ticket.

“I had the possibility of playing it against the rock because it was flat,” Garcia said. “The grandstand on the right side of the green was in my way, so I was able to get relief from that. So, (I) dropped inside the hazard.”

Garcia played alongside Mickelson, whose bid to book his trip to East Lake included an eagle at the 15th. The American played the final three holes in one-under par, but finished 34th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Asked if the delay as Garcia considered his options bothered him before his own birdie attempt, Mickelson quipped: “No. I needed that extra 38 minutes to read that putt.”

AFP

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