Lahiri at tied-35 at halfway stage — BMW Championship

Kristopher Nichols
September 17, 2017

Marc Leishman pitched in for a birdie from 50 yards on his way to another scorching round and a three-stroke halfway lead over Jason Day and Rickie Fowler at the BMW Championship outside Chicago on Friday. "You still have to earn every birdie".

"I don't know if I'll ever get back there", Day said.

But Friday under sunny skies at Conway Farms, the toothy grin returned after a hole-in-one on No. 17, and Day's easygoing nature was back in full swing. He hit an eagle on that hole and made par on the next two before writing a 1 on his scorecard on No. 17.

For two days, he has looked like the Day of old.

Because of Day's ace at the 17th, BMW will donate $US100,000 to the Evans Scholar foundation which provides college scholarships to caddies.

"Priorities change as the years go on", Day said. "That's the thing I've been trying to do this whole season - at least win once, and try to build on that".

Starting the day two back of Leishman, who opened with a nine-under 62, Day bounced back from a sloppy start featuring two bogeys with three birdies in his last four holes on the front side, before picking up an additional three shots on the inward half. "I've had two eagles and a hole-in-one this week already, so everything's come in bunches".

American Patrick Cantlay is solo fourth at 10-under after a 65, while Italy's Francesco Molinari sits in fifth place at nine-under following his 65. 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 vehicle as they were walking to dinner.

The Northern Irishman needs a top-four finish to reach the Tour Championship, the final Tour event of the season.

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His 69 took him to 7-under 135, in a tie for 12th.

Johnson won the first playoff event; Thomas, the second.

Leishman is hitting his stride at just the right time.

Leishman finished third two weeks ago at the TPC Boston and moved to No. 7 in the FedEx Cup.

After a week at home in Virginia, with the clubs never leaving the garage, he picked up where he left off.

The world number 22 has won twice on the PGA Tour, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida in March. He made an eagle on the 18th hole at the TPC Boston just to advance to the third round at No. 67. Was in a really bad spot off the tee and scrambled for his 4.

Day was brilliant on the ace, he smacked the shot with an iron.

But that was a big day for Leishman. Next week: Tour Championship. That's no longer an issue.

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