|BMW Championship, second-round leaderboard|
|-16 M Leishman (Aus); -13 J Day (Aus), R Fowler; -10 P Cantlay (US); -9 F Molinari (Ita)|
|Selected others: -7 J Rose (Eng), P Mickelson (US), J Spieth (US); -6 S Garcia (Spa), P Casey (Eng); -4 I Poulter (Eng); -1 R McIlroy (NI)|
Marc Leishman opened up a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the BMW Championship as Rory McIlroy’s FedEx Cup hopes faded.
Defending champion McIlroy’s two-under 69 took him to one under par and a tie for 50th place in Illinois.
The Northern Irishman needs a top-four finish to reach the Tour Championship, the final Tour event of the season.
Leishman, who carded a 64, leads at Conway Farms from fellow Australian Jason Day and American Rickie Fowler.
McIlroy is nine shots behind American Patrick Cantlay, who occupies fourth spot.
England’s Justin Rose went round in 68 to move to seven under and a share of 12th, with compatriot Paul Casey one shot behind.
Leishman, seventh in the FedEx Cup rankings before the tournament, dropped only one shot for a second successive day.
Day made a hole-in-one at the par-three 17th and Fowler carded a pair of eagles to stay in contention on 13 under.
McIlroy made five birdies, but carded a double bogey at the sixth and dropped another shot at the 13th.
He is 51st in the FedEx Cup standings and needs to be in the top 30 to reach next week’s Tour Championship, where the winner gets a $10m bonus.
McIlroy won the Tour Championship last year to scoop the lucrative FedEx Cup bonus, but world number two Jordan Spieth leads the rankings.
How does the FedEx Cup work?
- Players pick up points throughout the regular season in each event they play. Most tournaments give 500 points to the winner
- The top 125 players enter the play-offs, which consist of four tournaments and where winning carries 2,000 points
- The field is whittled down to 100, 70 and then 30 for the final event, the Tour Championship
- Points are then reset, so that the number one player has 2000 points, number two has 1800 and number 30 has 115
- Points earned at the Tour Championship are added to that reset value and the player with the highest points total is named winner of the FedEx Cup