Marc Leishman – to play his 5th Tour Championship – file photo.
Australians Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith have graduated to the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship in Atlanta next week, the pair remaining inside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings following the completion of the BMW Championship near Chicago today.
Despite Leishman finishing last of the 69 players at the BMW Championship, his exploits earlier in the disrupted 2020 season all but ensured he would advance irrespective of his performance at Olympia Fields.
Smith began the week in Chicago in 26th place in the standings but after a slow start to the event he produced an impressive weekend with rounds of 68 and 69 to move into a share of 20th place for the week and comfortably inside the top 30 who get to compete for the riches of the Tour Championship.
Leishman began the week in 25th place in the standings and although he struggled throughout and finished in 69th place of the eventual 69 who completed 72 holes over the demanding layout, he is in 25th place in the FedEx Cup standings as the Tour Championship gets underway.
After his round he discussed this week’s performance.
“I’m just struggling with energy and that sort of thing on the course, not playing great, either,” he said. “Yeah, I don’t know what it is. Just haven’t been much fun on the golf course, either. It’s a tough game. We all know that.
“Take the good with the bad, and this is why you celebrate your wins so hard because you’re going to have times like this. You hope you don’t, but like I said, it’s a hard game, and you’ve got to take the good with the bad. I’m going through a rough patch at the minute but hoping to turn that around next week for sure.”
Adam Scott began this week’s event in 38th position in the standings and through 54 holes he had moved inside the projected top 30 and was just two from the tournament leaders this week, Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson.
On a day where scoring improved considerably, however, Scott was unable to build any momentum through the early stages of his round and four dropped shots in his final four holes of round 4 saw him finish the week in 25th place and in 41st place in the FedEx Cup standings. He will therefore miss out on the Tour Championship, an event he won in 2006.
Leishman gets to play the Tour Championship for the 5th occasion having first played in his PGA Tour rookie season of 2009 and for each of the last three years.
Smith plays the Tour Championship for the second occasion having qualified in 2018 when he finished 20th.
Jason Day was the other Australian to have made it to the BMW Championship but he was unable to improve its standing, finishing 64th this week and 58th in the FedEx Cup standings and will not play in Atlanta.
The tournament was won in the most stunning fashion by Jon Rahm who was forced to recover from Dustin Johnson’s heroics when holing an impossible putt from 30 feet at the 72nd hole only to hole one of nearly twice the distance on the first extra hole himself to take the title and his first FedEx Cup playoff victory.
For Rahm it was his 5th win of 2019 to go along with four runner-up finishes.
Johnson remains in first position in the FedEx Cup standings while Rahm is now in second place, the same positions held in the world ranking.