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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Justin Rose leads BMW Championship but McIlroy heads classy chasing pack

Final round delayed due to severe weather

Rory McIlroy is one back in Pennsylvania
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, 4pm Sunday

The story so far

The final round of the BMW Championship should be a thriller when it finally takes places at Aronimink - no play was possible on Sunday with large amounts of standing water on the course.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy lit up the opening round of the tournament with a pair of 62s at Aronimink on Thursday but Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele had seized the initiative by Saturday afternoon in the third FedEx Cup playoff event.

Olympic champion Rose, a winner when the same course hosted the National in 2010, was six under through nine holes of his third round (-17 for the tournament) and threatening to break away from the pack but both he and Schauffele went level through the back stretch to bring the chasing pack into the equation.

McIlroy is chief among them after a 63 on moving day took him into a tie for second while Tommy Fleetwood carded sublime back-to-back 62s on Friday and Saturday to get into the mix. Rickie Fowler joined the Englishman at -15 while those slightly further off the pace, including Woods, are not ruled out around low-scoring Aronimink.

Leaderboard

-17 Justin Rose
-16 Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy
-15 Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler
-14 Keegan Bradley
-13 Francesco Molinari, Billy Horschel, Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama
-12 Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Tiger Woods

Best prices
2 J Rose, 16-5 R McIlroy, 15-2 X Schauffele, 17-2 R Fowler, 10 T Fleeetwood, 28  Thomas, 33 K Bradley, 40 H Matsuyama, F Molinari, 66 B Horschel, T Woods, 66 bar.

Final-day advice
Of the 14 players within five shots of the lead, eight are Major champions while the other six are multiple winners, either at European or US Tour level. As it so often the case in FedEx Cup playoffs, the cream has risen to the top in Pennsylvania.

Rose has a one-shot lead but he failed to hammer home his advantage on the back nine on Saturday and, with so much quality lurking just behind, he is skinny price despite his class.

While a low round from Molinari, Horschel, Thomas, Matsuyama or even Woods is entirely possible, it looks best to focus on the main challengers, with McIlroy probably the man to take advantage of any wobble from Rose.

The Northern Irish powerhouse will enjoy a track further softened by rain and is a huge contender if his putter continues to behaves on slow greens as it did in round three.

Schauffele can't be ruled out but the young American is not only playing for his place at East Lake but also for a spot on the US Ryder Cup team which most still think is earmarked for Tony Finau. He is under immense pressure.

Fleetwood has played wonderful golf to tie the course record on both Friday and Saturday but has two shots to recover and, for all his consistency, is yet to win on the PGA Tour, while Fowler may yet run out of gas despite a sterling performance so far on his return from injury.

McIlroy, a ball-striking colossus with the bit between his teeth, looks most likely to enjoy the tough conditions and can head to East Lake on the back of a victory.

Recommendation
R McIlroy to win BMW Championship
1pt 16-5 Betfred


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Officials tried to bring Sunday's play forward to avoid storms, but the round has now been delayed due to large amounts of water on the course
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