Red-hot Leishman, Day shine at BMW Championship
Marc Leishman and Jason Day combined to launch Australia Day-like fireworks celebrations within the space of some 20-minutes on day two of the BMW Championship in suburban Chicago.
Day was first with the golfing pyrotechnics when he holed a 28-foot chip shot from rough to the right of the flag for an eagle ‘3’ at the par five 14th hole.
Minutes later Leishman, and who had led his fellow Australian by two shots at the start of the round, then brilliantly holed a 152-yard wedge shot for a birdie ‘3’ at the par four seventh hole and this after his drive had been right into a native area forcing the Victorian to chip some 35-yards on the fairway.
The current World No. 21 raised his left arm skywards in seeing his shot drop for the first of three birdies in succession for Leishman.
Day then sensationally upstaged his bearded compatriot with an ace on the par three 17th after strangely turning away momentarily when something flew into his eye ahead of raising both arms skywards and in somewhat disbelief.
Day’s effort, and where he went to World No. 1 in winning the event in New Jersey two years ago, earned him a gleaming new BMW sedan.
“I had 186 yards with the wind from out of the left, kind of like a blowing in from like if the hole is 12:00, like 11:00, blowing in,” he said.
“Actually, I watched Bill Haas hit a 6- iron, kind of float it up with a high draw back into that breeze. Hit it to about four, five feet.”
“So, I was actually going to play a little bit left but pushed it a little bit but I was trying to hit a high shot, 7-iron about 182 yards and land it there. Probably landed at maybe 181 yards. Landed just off the green and kind of rolled down.”
“It was one of those shots you kind of get away with it so after the eagle on 14, not birdieing 15 and not birdieing 16, it was huge so being able to have a hole-in-one I think it made up for it.”
Day was asked if he could recall the last time he had a hole-in-one and his memory was as sharp as his 6-iron.
“Back in 2008 so it’s been awhile,” he said.
“I’ve been on a massive dry spell. Back then, it was at Turning Stone up in New York. I holed two iron shots from the fairway and had a hole-in-one. Hopefully I can keep doing that.”
Day eventually signed for a 65 to remain tied in second place with Rickie Fowler (64) at 13-under par but now trailing three behind Leishman who birdied four of his closing six holes to add a 64 to his first round 62 and move to 16-under par.
And it will be an all-Australian last group pairing on day three of the $US 8.75m event with Leishman looking forward to the challenge.
Marc Leishman (Credit: USGA)
“Jason and I have played a fair bit of golf together,” he said.
“I know Jason won here a few years ago so he clearly likes the course and playing really well.”
“It will be different looking over and not seeing (Col) Swatton on the bag but I’m sure we’ll have a good day out there and hopefully we can both play well and make a lot of birdies and drag each other along.”
“It’s funny how golf works. The guy you’re playing with is not playing great, generally, you don’t play great, either.”
“So, it should be good if we can both play good golf.”
And Cameron Smith kept it three Australian flags still inside the top-10 in shooting a second round 68 that included five birdies to be sharing seventh place at eight-under par.