LEMONT, Ill. — Away from the usual Tigermania, there’s a local lovefest at the BMW Championship. Mark Wilson not only lives in nearby Elmhurst, about 25 minutes away, he has played and practiced here at Cog Hill since 2004.
Give local knowledge a little assist in his ascent to the top. He played the new Cog Hill at least a half-dozen times before tournament week.
“So far, so good,” said Wilson. “A couple of times I hit to spots that I didn’t think were that bad. And obviously tournament conditions are different. There’s a lot more rollout on putts. But I took a few mental notes, and so far it’s helped a little bit.”
A half-dozen friends and family members followed Wilson on Thursday, and 15 did so Friday. Many more yelled out things like “Go Elmhurst!”
“It’s nice to have the local people cheer me on,” Wilson said. “But the multitudes are still chasing Tiger.”
Wilson, who now splits practice time between Cog Hill and Butler National, built his 7-under-par 69-66–135 on the strength of excellent putting. He’s bidding to move up from 41st in FedEx Cup points, reach the top 30 and qualify for the Tour Championship. He is also attempting to follow suit of two other Wisconsin natives. Both Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly have won Tour events at Cog Hill.
“I’ve kept that in the back of my mind,” Wilson said.
The same can’t be said of keeping track of FedEx points.
“I’m not looking at it,” he said. “That would be too distracting. Something tells me a win gets me way up there. But I’m focusing on golf shots. I haven’t looked at a leaderboard yet.”