Golf: Leishman leads by two at BMW Championship

Golf: Leishman leads by two at BMW Championship

Marc Leishman watches his second shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the BMW Championship golf tournament. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO: Marc Leishman blasted out of the gate at the BMW Championship on Thursday (Sep 14), firing a nine-under par 62 to take a two-shot first-round lead over Jason Day, Charley Hoffman and Jamie Lovemark in the US PGA Tour's penultimate playoff event.

Leishman, 33, came into the tournament in seventh place in the FedEx Cup standings.

But with his sizzling round at Conway Farms he stole the spotlight from Jordan Spieth, who leads the playoff standings and played alongside Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson - who are right behind Spieth in the race for the US$10 million playoff series bonus.

Leishman set the tone with a birdie at the first, one of six birdies with one bogey on his front nine.

"I hit the ball really well, which is obviously what you have to do to shoot that score," Leishman said. "But probably more importantly I putted well, I made the opportunities that I gave myself."

He picked up four more birdies coming in for a comfortable clubhouse lead - which Day sliced into with five birdies in a storming back nine.

Former world number one Day, who this week announced that longtime coach Col Swatton would no longer serve as his caddie, rebounded from a bogey at the second hole with a birdie at the fourth and an eagle at the par-five eighth - where he landed his second shot three feet from the pin.

Day capped his back nine with a four-foot birdie at the par-five 18th to complete his seven-under 64.

Lovemark seized his share of second place with an eagle at the 18th, while Hoffman rapped in a six-foot birdie putt at the last to complete his seven-under effort.

Rickie Fowler powered to a 65, stringing together six straight birdies from the 12th through the 17th to join British Open champion Spieth on six-under.

Spieth, runner-up in each of the previous two FedEx Cup events, had six-birdies without a bogey to join a group that also included Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello and Americans Keegan Bradley and Tony Finau.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson headed a group on five-under 66 after a bogey-free round.

Source: AFP/de