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Red Hot Putting Propels Aussie Marc Leishman To BMW Championship Victory

Leishman jumps to fourth in the tour standings after his five-stroke win.

18/09/2017 9:17 AM AEST | Updated 18/09/2017 9:17 AM AEST
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Marc Leishman greets fans during the final round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Sept 17 (Reuters) - Two weeks after a late meltdown, Marc Leishman avoided a repeat performance as he staved off a challenge from Justin Rose to win the BMW Championship by five strokes outside Chicago on Sunday.

Leishman began the final round with a five-shot lead, and was seven strokes in front of Englishman Rose, who twice cut the margin to two shots on the back nine.

But Leishman would not be denied, the Australian riding a hot putter to birdie the 15th and 16th holes and put the tournament out of reach at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois.

He also birdied the last to card 67 and finish at 23-under-par 261, a tournament record, for his third victory on the PGA Tour, at the age of 33.

American Rickie Fowler rallied late to shoot 67 and tie Rose (65) for second place on 18-under.

"There were a few scars from two weeks ago (and I was determined) to not let that happen again ... And I got it done," Leishman said in a greenside interview.

He was referring to his fade at the Dell Technologies Championship outside Boston, where he led by two strokes with nine holes left before finishing third.

Superb medium-length putting clinched a wire-to-wire victory this time for Leishman, who jumps to fourth in the tour standings heading into the season-ending Tour Championship starting at East Lake in Atlanta on Thursday.

The 30 players who qualified for the Tour Championship will vie for the FedExCup championship and a $10 million bonus awarded to the winner of the season-long points competition.

Justin Thomas leads the standings from fellow Americans Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.

Sunday's victory for Leishman came as wife Audrey looked on, two years after she nearly died of toxic shock syndrome.

Now healthy again, she recently gave birth to the couple's third child.

Getty Images
Marc Leishman celebrates with sons Oliver and Harry after winning the BMW Championship.

Leishman is no stranger to emphatic victories. He won an event by 11 strokes on the PGA Tour's feeder circuit in 2008, and two years ago beat a world class field by six strokes at the Nedbank Championship in South Africa.

He also lost a three-way playoff won by Zach Johnson at the 2015 British Open at St. Andrews. (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)

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