Date: September 11, 2009
Author: PA Sport and Sportal

Leishman starts well

Australian rookie Marc Leishman began his quest for a coveted top-30 spot on the FedExCup points list with an excellent four-under-par 67 to sit in a tie for third place after the opening round of the BMW Championship in Illinois. Leishman almost tied the course record last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship by shooting a second-round 62 and he continued his blistering form on Thursday to sit just one shot behind South African Rory Sabbatini and American Steve Marino. “To get into The Tour Championship would be unbelievable,” he said after his round. “Even considering the year I&aposve had to date, it&aposs not that unrealistic now, with the amount you can jump in the FedExCup, that I could make it.” “Without the playoffs, even if had won this year, I&aposd probably be struggling to get into the top 30. The playoffs have given us an extra advantage.” Geoff Ogilvy also made a good start, shooting a 31 on the back nine to finish in a group including Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington at three-under. Ogilvy has had just three top-10 finishes since winning the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship, including last week&aposs seventh at the Deutsche Bank Championship on the back of a final-round 66. Leishman shares third spot with Bo van Pelt. Sabbatini bogeyed the first and fifth but seven birdies, including two back-to-backs on the third and fourth and seventh and eighth, were enough to earn him a share of the early lead. Marino&aposs bogey four on the second was his only dropped shot with six birdies helping the 29-year-old to his 68. Ian Poulter and Anthony Kim were among eight players tied for 11th on two-under while Poulter&aposs countryman Luke Donald was a shot further back. Ernie Els was among the strugglers as he hit five bogeys in a four-over-par 75. American Ryder Cup winners JB Holmes and Kenny Perry also endured bad days and were seven and six over par respectively. Meanwhile, Aussie Scott Strange finished with a flurry of birdies to claim a share of third place after the opening round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne. Strange closed with four birdies over the final six holes to finish at five-under overall, two shots behind Dane Soren Hansen. England&aposs Chris Wood, so close in July to becoming the youngest winner of The Open since 1893, is in pursuit of his first European Tour title again and sits one stroke behind Hansen. Scotland&aposs David Drysdale is in joint third alongside England&aposs Ross Fisher, South African James Kingston, who came back superbly from a triple bogey seven at the 426-yard second, and Strange. Rod Pampling is tied for 35th after firing a one-under 71.