MARC LEISHMAN was playing some great golf and was on the cusp of the biggest win of his career. He stood on the 10th tee in the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship – the second of four FedEx Cup playoff events – with a two stroke lead over some of the sport’s best.
On the front nine at the TPC Boston the 33 year old Victorian had potted six unanswered birdies to have overtaken playing partner Justin Thomas and fellow young hotshot Jordan Spieth, playing in the second last group in front of him.
Leishman was at 18-under for the tournament but unfortunately, it all went sour from there.
He’d shot 30 on the front nine but it was to be a 5-over 40 on the back, including bogeys on 17 and 18 to slip to third place.
Still, at the start of the rich FedEx Cup playoff series he would probably have jumped at the chance to finish the second event outright third behind Thomas and Spieth and to jump to 7th place in the overall standings.
There is still the third event – the BMW Championship – to play in a fortnight but Leishman is now a certainty to make the 30 man TOUR Championship at East Lake the following week and have a chance at the US$10 million FedEx Cup bonus.
“You know, it was obviously a disappointing back nine for me,” Leishman said.
“Got things going just the way I wanted to on the front and then a bad tee shot on 10. There was some tough holes out there but certainly not 10 shots tougher than the front nine.
“It’s disappointing. But you know, with everything that’s going on in the world, I mean, there’s certainly worse things going on. You know, you have to put things into perspective. Obviously very disappointed. But we’re good to go.”
Leishman won his second US PGA TOUR event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, in March and his earnings for the 2016-17 season have now passed $US4 million. He collected a tidy $US595,000 pay cheque from his third placing today and the money keeps raining down on all competitors as the playoff series continues and the field numbers are cut back.
Also still alive are Jason Day and Cameron Smith.
After a disappointing opening round 75 Day was 8-under for the first 13 hole in his final round but gave back three bogeys in in his final five holes. He finished at 4-under tied for 25th and only blew out one spot to 29th in the FedEx rankings.
Cameron Smith missed the cut but is still in 54th place in the rankings while veteran Rod Pampling finished in 79th spot but at 74th in the rankings won’t make the 70 man BMW Championship at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Also missing the cut and ending their TOUR season was Adam Scott, who probably wasn’t helped by a last minute decision to enter the event after the early birth of his son Byron – and the last minute trip from Queensland to the US.
Justin Thomas makes it 5 wins for the season
Justin Thomas is now a very strong contender for player of the year after what was his fifth victory of the year.
Thomas held his nerve in the dogfight with Spieth and Leishman to finish with a 5-under 66 on 17-under.
Good mate Spieth (67) close at 14-under but the outright second finish saw him grab the number one FedEx ranking, with Thomas 2nd and Dustin Johnson now 3rd after his T18 finish.
Dell Final Round Highlights