Stephen Leaney’s Champions Tour credentials have received a further boost after the West Australian used a back-9 birdie blitz to record his best result at the American Family Insurance Championship in Wisconsin.
In a star-studded playoff Jerry Kelly’s birdie at the third extra hole saw him triumph over Retief Goosen and Steve Stricker at University Ridge Golf Club in Madison, Leaney finishing four strokes further back in a tie for eighth.
It is Leaney’s second top-10 finish in his rookie season after he was tied for 10th at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic earlier in the year and he finished it off in style.
Tied for ninth heading into the third and final round, Leaney countered two early birdies with two bogeys to be even par on his round at the turn but then cut loose, the 2003 US Open runner-up rattling off four straight birdies and a fifth at the par-5 16th to climb inside the top-10.
A second consecutive round of even par 72 saw Victorian David McKenzie finish tied for 35th, bogeys at the 13th and 16th holes contributing to a fall of seven spots down the leaderboard.
On the Staysure Tour in Europe, Peter O’Malley shot 76 in the final round of the Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship at Trevose Golf and Country Club in England to finish tied for 24th, Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy the victor by a shot from Barry Lane.
Greg Turner was the lone Kiwi in the field and finished in 48th position with rounds of 76-78-74.
American Family Insurance Championship
University Ridge Golf Club, Madison, Wisconsin
T8 Stephen Leaney 69-68-68—205 $US55,000
T35 David McKenzie 68-72-72—212 $11,086
Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship
Trevose Golf and Country Club, Padstow, England
T24 Peter O’Malley 69-72-76—217 €1,897
48 Greg Turner 76-78-74—228 €794
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