Marc Leishman showed remarkable grit in the final round of the PGA TOUR’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, with the Greg Norman Medal winner producing one of the best scores of the day on Sunday in Hawaii.
The laid-back Victorian shared the 36-hole lead after some superb golf over the opening two rounds but a cold putter betrayed him on day three as he fell off the pace set by World Number 1 Dustin Johnson.
Despite the frustration of his 3-over 76 on Saturday, Leishman hit back with a brilliant 6-under 67 on Sunday to jump five places up the leaderboard to T7 and continue an astonishing recent run of form.
One of two Australians in the winners only field alongside reigning Australian PGA champion Cameron Smith, Leishman posted six birdies in a blemish free round at Kapalua’s Plantation Course.
While he will be less than pleased with his Saturday play it was important for the 34-year-old to make amends on Sunday and with four front-9 birdies, he put to rest any demons from the previous day.
It was an impressive display of tenacity after his struggles and an eventual T7 finish means Leishman now has two top-10 results in three starts for the new wraparound season to pick up where he left off in 2017.
While Leishman will be ruing his third round, for Smith it was the front-9 on Thursday which proved damaging after he racked up a clumsy triple bogey at the par-3 8th hole.
The mistake saw him slump to 5-over through the opening eight holes but, like Leishman, he impressed with a determined fightback.
Smith made his first birdie of the tournament immediately after the triple bogey and added two more on the back-9 to escape with a 2-over 75.
He was never quite at his best all week though did manage to post 15 birdies over the closing three rounds including a 5-under back-9 on Saturday.
Scores of 75-70-68-71 eventually saw Smith to a T17 result in the 34-man tournament, a good effort after being near the tail of the field on day one.
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