MARC LEISHMAN has broken Australia’s 2012 golfing drought with his maiden victory on the US PGA Tour.
Leishman shot a sizzling 8-under 62 in the final round of the Travelers Championship at the TPC River Highlands course for a 1-shot victory over Bubba Watson (65) and Charley Hoffman (66).
The 28 year old Australian shot five birdies on the front and three on the back but then had to cool his heels as clubhouse leader for over two hours for the win to be confirmed.
“I just can’t believe it right now,” Leishman said after the final pairing had come within a whisker of forcing a playoff.
It was a big weekend for Australian golf with Queenslander Brad Kennedy winning on the Japan Tour and Marcus Fraser outright second on the European Tour in Germany.
Leishman finished at 14-under, with Hoffman throwing away a three stroke lead with a double bogey-bogey finish.
“Mum and Dad [ Paul and Pelita in Warrnambool, outside Melbourne] probably woke up this morning and got a real shock when they didn’t have to scroll down too far at all to find my name on PGATour.com,” joked Leishman in his post-round press conference.
Leishman was voted Rookie of the Year in 2009 after three top-10 finishes including being runner-up to Tiger Woods at the BMW Championship and had another second placing at the 2010 Farmers Insurance Open. His best previously this year was T3 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Leishman became the fifth player in the last seven years to record his first career win at the Travelers Championship and was awe struck the winners’ trophy included the names Greg Norman and Arnold Palmer as past champions.
“It’s unbelievable. It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s been a while since I won a tournament, probably four years I guess, so to have this (trophy) sitting next to me knowing its mine for a year, is pretty cool.”
In his press conference Leishman told media it had been a pretty “boring week” off the golf course without his family present, although he did have dinner with Australian cricket legend Ricky Ponting and Aaron Baddeley the night before.
He said he also drew inspiration from the performance of his mate and fellow Aussie Marcus Fraser on the European Tour.
“Denis McDade, he’s my coach, and he also coaches Marcus Fraser who lost in a playoff on the European Tour today,” Leishman said. “That was actually a little incentive for me, I was watching ‘Frase’ on TV before I teed off and thought I’d try and get one for Denis.”
Leishman earned a cool US$1,080,000 for his trouble and secured his future on the PGA Tour until the end of 2014, including a start at the Masters next year.
“Hopefully I can back it up and add a few more trophies to the collection,” he said.
Stuart Appleby (72) also had a good weekend finishing in a share of 18th at 8-under while Nathan Green (69) was a further shot back in T24.2012 Travelers Championship Final Leaderboard