Leishman out to surpass Tiger experience at BMW Championship

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"Actually quite a lot that day, probably three, four holes which is not normal for me".

Jason Day has produced a stunning hole-in-one to surge to second spot midway through the second round of the BMW Championship, but even that was not enough to haul in compatriot Marc Leishman.

"Priorities change as the years go on", Day said. Leishman has some experience with that, but it was long ago and the memory is vague, naturally.

He already has 18 birdies in 36 holes at Conway Farms, where the scoring average was a shade under 69 through two rounds. Cantlay returned after three years away to cope with a severe back injury and the death of his close friend and caddie, Chris Roth, who was hit by a auto as they were walking to dinner.

The Northern Irishman, who entered the tournament at his lowest world ranking - sixth - for more than three years having missed the cut at the Dell Technologies Championship, needed a good performance this week in order to reach the top 30 qualifying places for next week's season final Tour Championship in Atlanta.

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Qualifying would suggest Hamilton is set to lose his slender three-point lead over Vettel in the championship on Sunday. Speaking afterwards, Verstappen said: "It's a shame we couldn't put it on pole but we were quite close ".

Jordan Spieth, No. 1 in the FedExCup Playoffs, managed a 70 and joined Mickelson in the group at 135.

Johnson won the first playoff event; Thomas, the second. But with the birdies once again falling at Conway Farms, they still serve as a reminder of just how much talent he possesses - and how quickly the smile can return once the game starts trending in the right direction.

It's easy to overlook Leishman because the Australian has only two PGA Tour victories, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman captured the FedEx Cup title last year - and its $10 million bonus jackpot - but is now projected to finish 60th unless he makes a big move over the final two round, estimating he needed "a couple of 65s" to make any impact. That was his phrase, though apparently he's heard it Down Under, too. The BMW Championship will go to Aronimink outside Philadelphia next year and return to the Chicago area in 2019 at Medinah. It was his rookie season on the PGA Tour.

But that was a big day for Leishman. 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. Next week: Tour Championship.