Wilson reels in Rose
Mark Wilson, the early-season star of the PGA Tour, but an invisible man in mid-season, is back with a bang.
Mark Wilson, the early-season star of the US PGA Tour with two wins in as many weeks, but something of an invisible man in mid-season, is back with a bang.
The American set himself up for a big finish at the BMW Championship at Cog Hill’s Golf and Country Club on Friday – and perhaps in the FedEx Cup series too – by firing a five-under-par 66 to grab a share of the second round lead with first-round leader Justin Rose.
The Englishman, two strokes clear overnight, had looked poised to lead the field into the weekend after rolling in a 32-foot eagle putt at the 15th and following that with a birdie at the 16th.
Unfortunately Rose then briefly stumbled with a bogey at the last to card a three-under 68 and slip back into a tie for first with Wilson at 11-under 131 and two shots clear of FedExCup leader Webb Simpson, who also posted a 68.
John Senden is a shot further back, fellow Australian Robert Allenby is a stroke behind him in a two-way tie with American Bill Haas at 6-under 136 and US PGA Champion Keegan Bradley is lurking at 5-under in the five-man pack behind them.
Rose was clearly disappointed by his late slip, but overall was happy to still be in front.
He said: “You never quite know what to expect after playing so well in the first round,” he said. “I’ve taken the chances when the golf course has presented them to me.”
With only the top 30 in the FedExCup standings after Sunday’s final round qualifying for the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, where a $10 million bonus will go to the overall points leader, there was no shortage of drama on a cool, overcast day in Illinois.
Having lived in Chicago for several years and called Cog Hill his home club, Wilson’s name was a popular one atop the leaderboard.
The American made a dubious start with a bogey at the first but that was his only blunder of the day and he was soon back to level par after a birdie at the fifth.
Just three holes later he went into overdrive and set up his round with four straight birdies to the 12th
He added another birdie at the 15th to cap off a sound day’s work that brought back visions his spectacular early season heroics that saw him win twice in his first three starts.
Since then everything had been downhill for Wilson, notably in the events that mattered. He missed the cut at the Masters, the Players Championship and US Open.
So far he has turned things around at Cog Hill and because of it there has been talk about the possibility of him winning PGA Tour player of the year honours if he can win again this week.
“That would put me with the most wins of anybody (this year) and then going into East Lake, if I can get another one there, I think I would have a good argument,” said Wilson.
“But that’s a lot of ifs. The game is fickle, you never know. There are a lot of good players out there, but, at the same time, I do feel like I am playing very close to the same form I had when I started the year.”
Rose, unable this year to any Tour wins to the two he came away with last year, unlike Wilson, is still fighting to make the top 30 who will head on to East Lake next week for the Tour Final.
When he arrived at Cog Hill he was positioned just outside the top 30 bubble in 34th place and will clearly need to continue playing with the do-or-die, “I’ve got nothing to lose” attitude that carried him to the top of the leaderboard on Thursday and kept him there on Friday..
And fellow Englishman Luke Donald?
The World No 1 was fourth in the standings coming to Cog Hill and after a horrible first day 75, he recovered somewhat on Friday with a fighting 5-under 66 that has given his challenge a lot more respectability and although his 1-under halfway tally may be a bridge too far here at Cog hill, further catch-up golf at the weekend could still set him up to win the $10 million FedEx Cup bonanza at East Lake next week..
TOP 10 LEADERBOARD
131 Justin Rose (Eng) 63 68, Mark Wilson 65 66
133 Webb Simpson 65 68
134 John Senden (Aus) 68 66
136 Robert Allenby (Aus) 69 67, Bill Haas 70 66
137 Keegan Bradley 71 66, David Toms 71 66, Matt Kuchar 72 65, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 69 68, Brandt Snedeker 71 66
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