Justin Rose leads BMW Championship

Sept. 15, 2011 at 8:34 PM
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LEMONT, Ill., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Justin Rose grabbed the lead with an 8-under 63 after one round of the BMW Championship Thursday and Webb Simpson began his bid for a third win in four starts.

The third of the PGA Tour's four playoff tournaments opened in some of the coolest weather felt on the circuit this year, with temperatures in the 50s and a brisk wind blowing.

Rose birdied half the holes at the Cog Hill Golf and Country Club and finished with a two-shot lead. He began the tournament in 34th place on the FedEx Cup points list and needs to climb into the Top 30 this week to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship.

A victory this week would jump Rose all the way into one of the first five spots on the points list. If any of the leading five players wins the Tour Championship in Atlanta, that player will capture the FedEx Cup and its $10 million first prize.

Simpson, with one playoff victory to his credit and the current points leader, shared second place with Mark Wilson at 65. Both Simpson and Wilson have two victories this year, but Wilson's wins came early in the season.

Simpson won the Wyndham Championship prior to the start of the playoffs and he then captured the Deutsche Bank Championship to take the points lead.

A second playoff win by Simpson would make him a leading contender for player-of-the-year honors even though he did not win a major title in 2011. His best finish in a major was a tie for 14th at the U.S. Open.

K.J. Choi was alone in fourth at 67 with Camilo Villegas, John Senden and defending FedEx champion Jim Furyk at 68.

Furyk needs to finish 11th or better this week to qualify for the Tour Championship. He went into last year's Tour Championship ranked 12th and his victory in that event vaulted him past the front runners to the biggest paycheck of his career.

Rickie Fowler and Chez Reavie, defeated by Simpson in a playoff at the Deutsche Bank event, were among those at 69.

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