Danny Lee’s FedEx Cup finale hopes still just alive at tricky BMW Championship


Danny Lee remains in the middle of the pack at the BMW Championship.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Danny Lee remains in the middle of the pack at the BMW Championship.

Kiwi golfer Danny Lee’s hopes of featuring at the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup finale remain just alive.

Needing a big finish at this week’s second and penultimate playoffs event – the BMW Championship in Illinois – Lee improved slightly in his second round on Saturday (NZ time) but remains half a dozen shots off the pace.

The top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings advance to next week’s Tour Championship in Georgia, and Lee went into this week at No 42 in the rankings.

Danny Lee gets into his work on the opening hole of his second round on Saturday (NZ time).

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Danny Lee gets into his work on the opening hole of his second round on Saturday (NZ time).

The live projections have Lee moving from No 42 to No 45 if the tournament were to end now, so he needs a huge weekend, on a tough course at Olympia Fields which is getting the better of most players. Only the joint leaders are under par.

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After opening with a three-over 73 to be six shots back in a tie for 35th in the 69-player field, Lee went marginally better in his second outing, shooting a two-over 72.

His day didn’t bode well when he found the bunker on his opening hole and recorded a bogey. However, while there were further bogeys at seven, 12 and 18, Lee at least mixed in birdies at three and 17.

It left him at five-over, in a nine-way tie for 30th, still six shots off the lead, which is shared by Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and American Patrick Cantlay, at one-under.

The last time someone won over par was two years ago at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills (Brooks Koepka’s one-over), while for non-majors, over-par hasn’t won since Bruce Lietzke at the Byron Nelson Classic in 1981.

It’s a massive contrast to last week, where Dustin Johnson won the opening FedEx Cup Playoffs event – The Northern Trust – by 11 shots at a whopping 30-under.

Meanwhile, fellow New Zealander Ryan Fox was enjoying a better time of it at the European Tour’s UK Championship at The Belfry in Warwickshire.

After a one-under opening round to be tied for 35th, seven shots off the pace, Fox then shot a blemish-free five-under 67 on Saturday (NZ time) which was the equal-best round of the day.

It saw the 33-year-old fly up to a four-way tie for fourth at six-under, now three shots off the lead, held by South African Justin Walters.