Marc Leishman opens up early two-shot lead at BMW Championship

Marc Leishman fired a nine-under 62 to grab a two-shot lead at the BMW Championship, where Jason Day and Rickie Fowler also made impressive starts.

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Leishman was the star performer on a day of low scoring in benign conditions at Conway Farms Golf Club, where only 14 of the 69-man field finished the day over-par.

Compatriot Day, Charley Hoffman and Jamie Lovemark were his nearest challengers on seven under, while Fowler lies in the group a further shot back after birdieing six of his final seven holes.

Fowler is joined three off the pace by FedExCup leader Jordan Spieth, as world No 1 Dustin Johnson began with a level-par 71 and Rory McIlroy stuttered to an opening-round 72.

Leishman birdied three of his opening four holes and cancelled out a bogey-five at the sixth with a hat-trick of gains from the seventh to reach the turn in 30.

The Australian drained a 20-footer at the 11th and picked up another shot at the next, with back-to-back birdies from the 14th helping him set the clubhouse target.

“I hit the ball well and the putter cooperated,” Leishman said. “It’s nice when you can get on a run like this and hopefully I can keep it going.”

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Day nailed a 20-footer at the 10th and added four more birdies over his final six holes, with Hoffman later joining him in joint-second after finishing with back-to-back gains.

Lovemark completed a blemish-free card with a final-hole eagle to make it a trio on seven under, while Fowler racked up six consecutive birdies from the 12th – including a 65-footer at the 17th.

Phil Mickelson lies tied-10th following a five-under 66 and PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas posted a four-under 67, with Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Jon Rahm all seven strokes adrift.

McIlroy, needing a top-four finish this week to give him a chance of defending his FedExCup title, double-bogeyed his opening hole and carded a three-putt bogey at the last in an inconsistent display.

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September 15, 2017, 8:00pm

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Watch the BMW Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage continues on Friday from 8pm.