Gary Woodland clinging to all-important 30th spot in FedEx Cup standings

While Topeka native falters in Round 3 of BMW Championship, Marc Leishman extends lead to five shots

Topeka native Gary Woodland will enter the final round of the BMW Championship at Lake Forest, Ill., projected in the 30th position on the FedEx Cup standings. The top 30 qualify for next week’s Tour Championship. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Gary Woodland suddenly is perched precariously on the PGA Tour’s bubble.


After carding back-to-back rounds of 4-under 67 and climbing into the top 10 to open the BMW Championship, Woodland struggled to a 1-over 72 on Saturday. That dropped him 20 spots to a tie for 27th at 7-under 206.

More significantly, it left the former Shawnee Heights and Kansas standout clinging to the ever-so-important 30th spot in the projected FedEx Cup standings. The top 30 in the FedEx Cup advance to next week’s Tour Championship, where all have a mathematical chance at the $10 million bonus and are assured spots in every major except the PGA Championship next year.

Woodland put himself in the tenuous 30th position by carding two bogeys and a double-bogey 7 at the par-5 14th against three birdies on Saturday. He briefly was projected outside the FedEx Cup’s top 30 before he finished his day by sinking a 17-foot birdie putt at the par-5 18th.

Woodland will begin his bid for a spot in the Tour Championship field at 10:10 a.m. Sunday, playing alongside rookie Xander Schauffele.

While Woodland was backing up Saturday, leader Marc Leishman continued to charge ahead. Leishman got up-and-down from a tough lie behind the 18th green for one last birdie that gave him a 3-under 68 and extended his lead to five shots over Jason Day and Rickie Fowler going into the final round.

Leishman gets another chance to win a FedEx Cup playoff event and grab one of the top five seeds at the Tour Championship. The top seeds have the clearest path to claim the $10 million bonus.

And this opportunity is much better than two weeks ago.

Leishman shared the 54-hole lead at the TPC Boston with Justin Thomas, who surged past Leishman and held off Jordan Spieth. This time, no one could make a run at him Saturday on a warm day with a steady wind at Conway Farms.

Fowler rolled in a 25-foot eagle putt from just short of the green on the opening hole, and made only one birdie the rest of the way. He missed putts from the 6-foot range on consecutive holes on the back nine, one of them for birdie, and couldn’t make birdie with an iron in his hand for his second shot on the par-5 18th.

Day pulled within two shots with a birdie at the turn, but played the back nine with eight pars and a bogey. He also had an iron for his second shot on the 18th, but it plugged into the side of the bunker.

Fowler and Day each shot 70.

Leishman was at 19-under 194 after the kind of round that limited the possibilities for the final day. No one other than Fowler and Day were closer than seven shots of the affable Australian. Justin Rose had a 66 and was at 12-under 201, while Jon Rahm had a 65 and was in a large group at 11-under 202, eight shots out of the lead.

Phil Mickelson, finally finding his form late in the year, has a chance to make it to the Tour Championship. He had a 69 — his seventh straight round in the 60s — but failed to take advantage of the easiest par 4 at Conway Farms — the reachable 15th — and took bogey on both par 3s. He enters the final round projected 33rd.

“I’m playing well enough to get in contention and win again,” said Mickelson, whose last trophy came from the British Open in 2013. “And I want to get in that field because I think if I do, I think I’ll have a really good shot at it.”



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