Jason Day surges into the lead at BMW Championship

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Day slipped back after dropping a shot at the 11th, and he is joined on 14 under by Fowler - the American signing for a solid 70.

Day's tee shot at the 188-yard par-three 17th landed just in front of the green, took a couple of bounces and trickled into the hole, much to the Australian's surprise.

The 33-year-old regained the stroke with a ideal 20-foot putt at the fifth, although he then missed from four feet for par at the seventh before a nice up-and-down at the par-five next got him back under the card for the day.

Watching Victorian native Leishman blitz the field with rounds of 62-64, and fellow former world No.1 Day bag a hole-in-one, has Smith fired up to have a big weekend.

'The game's feeling really good.

"Knowing I had already made the BMW probably affected my concentration a little in the first two FedEx Cup play-offs events".

The BMW Championship is the second last event in the lucrative FedEx Cup series.

But the 33-year-old Leishman is sitting on a gold mine. Marc Leishman still at 21 under. Although in some ways, Jason Day has been on top at Conway Farms for the last 24 months.

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Fowler started promisingly by sinking a 25-foot eagle putt from the fringe at the par-five first, but he struggled to buy a putt thereafter, his only birdie a near tap-in at the par-five 14th.

The Northern Irishman, who entered the tournament at his lowest world ranking - sixth - for more than three years having missed the cut at the Dell Technologies Championship, needed a good performance this week in order to reach the top 30 qualifying places for next week's season final Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Rory McIlroy's (300/1) hopes of making it to next week's finale at East Lake appear slim, but a two-under back-nine had him moving in the right direction albeit 15 shots behind the pace-setter.

Leishman capped his round with a birdie at the par-five 18th to put himself in prime position to seize a third US PGA Tour title on Sunday. Jamie Lovemark and Charley Hoffman also opened at 64.

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson.

On the seventh hole, Leishman chipped in beautifully before rolling the ball in on the long green for a birdie, before repeating the trick, putting in from beyond the fringe on the eighth.

"It's very quick down there so I just wanted to get something just landing on the green", he said.

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