LAKE FOREST, Illinois (Reuters) - With the ‘Big Three’ of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day dominating golf at the top level, the latest chapter in their battle for supremacy will unfold at this week’s BMW Championship.
World number one McIlroy, second-ranked Spieth and Day (third) are all in the elite field of 70 players at Conway Farms for the third of the PGA Tour’s four FedExCup playoff events as they look to end their respective seasons with additional wins.
Australian Day is the best positioned of the three heading into Thursday’s opening round, having triumphed three times in his last five events to lead the FexExCup standings over second-placed Spieth. American Rickie Fowler sits third.
“Obviously to get off to a good start here would be great,” said PGA Championship winner Day, who has a top-five spot secured for next week’s Tour Championship finale regardless of how he fares at Conway Farms.
“I‘m going to stay top five (in the standings) so being able to stay at No. 1 would be good going into Atlanta for the Tour Championship, for the FedExCup,” he added, referring to his bid for overall FedExCup honors and the bonus of $10 million.
“I got off to a good start at the Barclays, played okay at Deutsche Bank, and I‘m looking forward to moving forward on this week going into next week as well.”
Like Day, Masters and U.S. Open champion Spieth is also assured of a top-five spot in the FedExCup standings heading to Atlanta, no matter how he performs this week. As a result, he plans to play aggressively at Conway Farms.
“It’s really just a free-rolling scenario,” said the 22-year-old American, who has matched Day with four victories on the 2014-15 PGA Tour.
“As far as the final tally or the FedExCup, it’s not going to make much of a difference if I win this week or finish 70th ... it makes you feel like you may as well go for broke here, play some shots under pressure that are more dangerous.”
World number five Fowler is oozing confidence after climbing to third in the FedExCup standings with his one-stroke victory nine days ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second of the four playoff events.
“Just get off to a good solid start tomorrow, and there’s no reason why I can’t be in a position to win the golf tournament come Sunday.” he said.
While 70 players qualified for the BMW Championship, only the leading 30 in the FedExCup standings after this week’s event will advance to the Tour Championship finale.
Day, Spieth and Fowler are safely through to Atlanta, but the BMW Championship will be a nail biter for American Jason Bohn (28th) and Scotland’s Russell Knox (29th), plus South African Louis Oosthuizen who sits right on the bubble at 30th.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue