Marc Leishman holds off Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day to win BMW Championship
The story of the 2017 BMW Championship was supposed to be former world No. 1 Jason Day's return to the winner's circle. After a blistering start with rounds of 64 an 65 at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Ill., Day struggled on the weekend, carding rounds of 70 and 69 to finish at 16-under 268. That total ended up being seven shots back of fellow Australian Marc Leishman, who blitzed the field, shooting rounds of 62, 64, 68 and Sunday's final-round four-under 67 to win by five strokes in wire-to-wire fashion at 23-under 261.
Leishman, 33, had to fend off some other big names as well, like Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler, who tied for second at 18-under 266. After playing his first 12 holes in two-under par, Leishman made a bogey at the par-4 13th to drop back to 20-under par for the tournament. Meanwhile, Rose was charging, making six birdies and no bogeys on his first 13 holes to get within two shots of Leishman's lead.
Just as Rose closed the gap, Leishman rolled in a 28-footer for birdie at the par-4 15th and a 10-footer at the par-4 16th to shut the door. His 29th and final birdie of the week came from 20 feet at the 18th hole to cap off the biggest victory of his career. His 23-under total ties Dustin Johnson's 2016 total for the lowest in BMW Championship history. With the win, Leishman moves from seventh to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings. It's the third PGA Tour victory of his career and second this season.
For Rose, it's the third runner-up finish of his season, and third straight top-10 of the playoffs. The Englishman leaped nine spots from 17th to eighth in the standings. Fowler earned his second runner-up finish this season, as well as his 10th inside the top-10. After entering the week sixth in the standings, he'll stay there despite the strong result.
Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm tied for fifth at 15-under 69. Kuchar jumped eight spots from 18th to 12th, while Rahm stayed put at fifth.
Tony Finau, sitting at 39th prior to the BMW, needed a good week to get into the TOUR Championship, and delivered it. The 2016 Puerto Rico Open winner finished at 13-under 271 in a tie for seventh, which vaulted him 15 spots into 24th. Jordan Spieth also finished at 13-under and remains atop the standings.
Patrick Cantlay's Tour Championship hopes were in doubt on his way to the 18th green, but he was able to hole a 10-footer for birdie to finish in a tie for ninth at 12-under 272. He moved from 41st to 29th and earned a spot next week at East Lake despite playing in just 12 events this season.
Sergio Garcia was also able to sneak in, finishing T-12 at 11-under 273, which moved him from 34th to 25th.
Unfortunately for Phil Mickelson, his 10-under 274 total was only good enough to finish T-20, leaving him outside the top-30 at 34th. It's the third time he'll miss the TOUR Championship in the last four years.