Marc Leishman leads as Rory McIlroy slips off pace — BMW Championship

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Jordan Spieth

The BMW Championship brings back memories for Leishman, who was paired with golf icon and 14-time major victor Tiger Woods at the tournament in 2009 and it something he remembers fondly as he looks to add a third PGA Tour title to his name. His confidence was at an all-time high, and the shots he regularly pulled off - like taking driver on the narrow third hole - now seem unfathomable, even to him. "I think when you do get ahead of yourself, that's when bad stuff can happen". "That's two shots I could have had". "I just knew regardless of what I did, I was going to play well". [It] always seemed like I had a better lie and better bounces.

Day shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday, saying: "It's a great golf course".

"The game is feeling really good", Leishman said. But when it turns cold, the notion of a turnaround borders on impossible.

The Australian, who finished day one as clubhouse leader, held on to top spot with a seven-under 64 at the penultimate play-off event for the season-ending tournament. It's been a humbling journey that included time off as his mother battled cancer, and more recently included the decision to part ways with longtime caddie Col Swatton.

"I would love to sign off on a good note, it would be nice to have something positive to go into the off season with but I am excited to get ready for next year". He carded a 6-under 65 that vaulted him into a tie for second place behind Marc Leishman.

Those were the days when winning felt easy. Landed just off the green and kind of rolled down. He already has three eagles this week, two of them on Friday.

The Australian sank the ace on hole No. 17 at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.

The County Down man needs a strong showing in this tournament at Conway Farms to keep his hopes of retaining the FedEx Cup alive. I mean, it's not weighing heavy on my mind. When I was playing well, I didn't need to worry about it. It's an ebb and flow for players at the top level, all of whom vacillate throughout the year while trying to find the sparse middle ground that yields both ample focus and a sufficiently loose approach. "He squared a lone bogey-5 at 13 (3-putt from 84'11"), smothered by seven birdies at 2, 3, 7, 8, 14, 15 and 18, six conventional and a hole-out 4 at 8 from 61'4" away.

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