MARC LEISHMAN has broken through for his second US PGA TOUR victory with a nerveless display at the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The 33 year old Victorian was a couple off the lead coming down the stretch but holed a 50 foot eagle putt on the 16th hole at Bay Hill to turn his career around.
A clutch par on the last was enough to secure a 11-under total.
The only missing from his victory was host Arnold Palmer.
“You see guys win and he’s waiting there on the back of the green,” Leishman said. “And to not have that is obviously very sad, but to win here is just a dream come true.”
Leishman fired rounds of 71, 66, 71, 69 to win the title by one shot from Americans Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.
It was back to back wins at Bay Hill with Jason Day the defending champion. Leishman’s previous TOUR victory was the Travelers Championship in 2012.
“It’s such a special year to honour Mr. Palmer how they have. It’s unbelievable. Obviously, it’s sad not to have him up there on 18, but to play how I did and to win any tournament’s huge, but especially this one.
“You get the extra year exemption and everything that comes along with that. So it’s a Presidents Cup year, there’s a lot of reasons that I wanted to play good. My family is here; it’s just a special day and couldn’t have worked out any better.
Leishman had a great week on the greens, particularly his 50 foot eagle putt.
“The putter was pivotal all week. I’ve been putting well all year and it’s nice to be able to hole putts the last few days. That was key to do that. I gave myself chances for putts and, yeah, it was an awesome day and I couldn’t have drawn it up any better.
“That one on 16, I actually hit that putt earlier in the week and missed it low left, and I worked on that, so practice pays off,” said Leishman.
Playing the group ahead of Kisner and Hoffman, Leishman held a one shot advantage in the clubhouse which neither of the Americans was able to neutralise.
“I’ve been playing well all year. I got a new Callaway driver in at the start of the year and it’s really been a game changer,” added Leishman.
“I’ve been driving it better than I ever have. It’s funny; the game’s a lot easier out of the fairway. So that’s been probably the biggest difference.
“Then just the putter. The putter’s been amazing this year. The stats probably show that. Especially this week.
“But I feel like all year it’s been really close and I just haven’t played how I wanted to on Sundays. But today was great.”
It was an important win for Leishman who has now booked a start at The Masters in a couple of weeks.
Marc Leishman 2017 Arnold Palmer Win: Highlights Video