Jason Day
PGA Tour via YouTube
Jason Day's eagle from a fairway bunker was the best sot in a day full of them at the BMW Championship in Thursday.
 
Jason Day leads the FedExCup points standings coming into this week and Zach Johnson won the BMW Championship when the event was played at Conway Farms two years ago. So it's no surprise that those two players would produce two of Thursday's best shots.
 
The cool thing is, they both made eagles out of bunkers.
 
Johnson drove into the front left greenside bunker on the par-4 15th hole (his sixth hole of the day), and had to hit out to a pin placement in the back right part of the long, narrow green. He swung solidly, not taking much sand, and lofted his ball up onto the putting surface, where it rolled directly into the cup.
 
The eagle came just after a bogey, and moved him to 2 under at the time. He is currently 3 under through 16 holes.
 
 
Day's bunker shot on the par-4 first hole (his 10th of the day) was less challenging but much longer – 79 yards out, but from a good lie in a flat fairway bunker. Even so, what he did with that shot was amazing. He lofted the ball gently out of the sand, asked it to "sit," and watched it land a little left and long.
 
Yet despite the ease of his swing, he had put enough spin on the ball to make it hop a couple times – and then back up directly into the cup for an unlikely eagle.
 
Day had gone out in 32, and followed the eagle with two straight birdies. That put him at 8 under through 12 holes, and solidly in the lead as the first round continues.
 
Here are the two spectacular sand shots:
 
Jason Day and Zach Johnson make eagles from bunkers at BMW Championship
Jordan Spieth
PGA Tour via YouTube
Jordan Spieth encouraged his tee shot on the par-3 second hole to "be enough," and it was, giving him an ace at the BMW Championship.
 
Maybe all Jordan Spieth needed was a little break. After mssing the cut in each of the first two FedExCup events, he used last week's off-week to take in a couple of football games and get his game back in shape.
 
So far, so good. Spieth opened the BMW Championship with an even-par 36 on the back nine, then birdied the first hole as he moved over to the front nine. He then stepped up on the tee at the 184-yard, par-3 second hole – and made a hole-in-one.
 
 
Spieth pulled out a 7-iron, and encouraged his ball to "go" and "be enough." It obviously was listening, because it landed right on the front fringe, hopped, and headed straight for the front-left hole location. A couple seconds later, it dropped in the right side of the cup for an ace.
 
The hole-in-one moved Spieth to 2 under for his round, and he followed it up with birdies on the third and fourth to reach 4 under.
 
Here's his ace:
 
 
Jordan Spieth makes a hole-in-one in first round of BMW Championship
September 16, 2015 - 3:10pm
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Henrik Stenson
USA Today Sports Images
Henrik Stenson enters the BMW Championship fourth in the points after finishing second in both of the first two playoff events.
 
After a week off to recharge, the 70 contenders left in the FedExCup playoffs have descended on Conway Farms Golf Club north of Chicago for the BMW Championship. The 30 survivors come Sunday night will move onto the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, where the FedExCup champion will be crowned next week.
 
All eyes will be on the Big Three of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, and with good reason. Spieth and McIlroy have traded the world No. 1 ranking seemingly every week for the last month or two, and Day has been better than both lately. But there are still plenty of intriguing storylines as the PGA Tour reaches the sharp end of its season.
 
 
Here are my five players to keep an eye on this week:
 
5. Jim Furyk
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the RBC Heritage
Reason to watch: Furyk shot a 59 the last time the PGA Tour visited Conway Farms, at the 2013 BMW Championship, where he finished third. That's reason enough to keep an eye on the guy, but he also comes in playing well – he's got three top-5 finishes in his last five starts, including a tie for fourth at the Deutsche Bank Championship. At age 45, he's seventh in the world ranking and ninth in the FedExCup points.
 
4. Hunter Mahan
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Tie for third at the Frys.com Open
Reason to watch: Mahan holds the distinction of being the only player to participate in every single FedExCup playoff event ever staged – this week will be his 35th, stretching back to the FedExCup's debut in 2007. He needed a good showing at the Deutsche Bank to make it into the field this week and, at 52nd in the points, he needs another big week to keep his streak alive and move on to East Lake. The good news for Mahan is that he tied for fourth at Conway Farms in 2013, and tied for fourth in his last start two weeks ago.
 
3. Zach Johnson
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the Open Championship
Reason to watch: Johnson won the 2013 BMW Championship at Conway Farms, played the course well during the 1997 NCAA finals and will no doubt enjoy a lot of Midwestern support – so if anyone will feel right at home this week, it's got to be him. He tied for fourth at the Barclays and tied for 22nd at the Deutsche Bank, so he's playing well, and he's still riding high after claiming the claret jug at St. Andrews. And at seventh in the FedExCup points, he's still got a solid chance to win the big pot at East Lake.
 
2. Henrik Stenson
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Second place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship
Reason to watch: At this point in the season, it's too easy to focus on just the Jason Days and Rory McIlroys of the world. To me, the most intriguing player in the field is Stenson – he's fourth in the points, despite having played only 14 events all year, by far the fewest of anyone left in the playoffs. He hasn't won this season, but has yet to miss a cut and finished second in both of the first two playoff events. And we know he can elevate his game when it matters most – he won the Tour Championship and the FedExCup crown just two seasons ago.
 
1. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the Masters and the U.S. Open
Reason to watch: After his stellar regular season, Spieth shockingly missed the cut in both of his first two playoff starts. But no worries – he had amassed enough points to all but guarantee that he'll enter the Tour Championship with a great chance to win the FedExCup. So will he be focused on winning, or simply trying to get his game back in shape? The player ranked first in the points going into next week has by far the best chance to win the FedExCup, so we suspect Spieth will try to play his best this week in hopes of grabbing that top spot currently held by Day. The question is, can he do it?
 
 
5 to Watch at the 2015 BMW Championship
Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan has made it through the each FedExCup cut since 2007.

Hunter Mahan knows about consistent play during the FedExCup playoffs.

He's the only PGA Tour player to never miss a playoff event.

That adds up to 34 tournaments since the format started in 2007.

And before each round - 136 of them to be precise - this is what he did:

 

 

 

 

Mahan is No. 52 in FedExCup points heading into this week's BMW Championship at Conway Farms.

He'll need to finish in the top 30 to advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake next week.

TEE TIMES: BMW Championship

 

How Hunter Mahan warms up before PGA Tour events

There's no doubt Michelle Wie has shoe game.

She sported these for last week's Evian Championship in France.

 

 

Ahead of Solheim Cup play in Germany, Wie unvelied this new pair of Nikes.

 

 

 

 

The shoes are based on the Nike Blazer model, the first basketball shoe manufactured by the sporting goods company in 1972.

When can the general public start shopping for them? Nike says expect them to be available in early 2016.

Solheim Cup play begins Friday. 

BONUS: More of Wie's sneaker collection:

 

 

Wardrobe essentials @nikeairmax87 #WiezyNikeIDs

A photo posted by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

RELATED: Social media readies for Solheim Cup play

Michelle Wie steps up shoe game for Solheim Cup
September 14, 2015 - 5:40pm
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Greg Norman
Greg Norman/Instagram
Greg Norman poses with the Greg Norman Medal in front of the famous Sydney Opera House.

Australian golfers will now have a Shark to shoot at.

The PGA of Australia announced Monday plans to honor the best men's or women's golfer in Australia with the Greg Norman Medal.

MORE SUCCESS THAN FAILURE: Greg Norman reflects on his career

Here are some of the details, courtesy of the PGA of Australia news release:

To be called the Greg Norman Medal, the inaugural award will be presented to the best male or female professional golfer on the world stage in 2015 at a gala awards night in December.

The winner will be determined based on annual success on the Australian and International stage including all Professional tours such as the LPGA, ALPG & Ladies European Tour, and the (men's) PGA Tour (America or Australasia), the European Tour and other Tours around the world, including those in Asia.

PGA of Australia Chief Executive Brian Thorburn said the award would at long last provide Australian golf with an opportunity to celebrate its key player's success on the world stage.

"Australia's athletes excel on the global sporting stage and in most sports we celebrate the success of our athletes on that stage. Whether it's the Olympic Games, World Cups in Cricket, Soccer, the Rugby codes or Netball; or domestic sports such as the AFL, we recognise the champions who put Australia on that world stage and who excel in their chosen sport," he said.

"Our sport of golf has generated many, many stars on the world stage from Norman Von Nida, Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle, Greg Norman, Adam Scott and more recently Jason Day, and on the female side from Jan Stephenson, Jane Crafter, Karrie Webb to name just a few."

"But Golf in Australia has never recognized the best of the best of our Australian Professional golfers through an annual award – until now," Thorburn said.

"Greg Norman was the obvious stand out choice to name this award after. A World Golf Hall of Famer, a life member of the PGA and a recipient of the Order of Australia, Greg Norman is synonymous with the highest levels of golfing achievement."

Norman, understandably, was thrilled -- based on the smile on his face in this Instagram post:

 

 

So who will win the inaugural award? PGA Champion Jason Day certainly has to be the front-runner right now.

Greg Norman Medal award launched
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