Backing up a great round can be difficult but what about a great year?
New year, same Leish. Marc Leishman has picked up where he left off in 2018 with a top-five finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions with countryman Jason Day delivering some Sunday sizzle to finish four shots further back.
Beginning the final round tied for third, Leishman registered birdies at the fifth and ninth holes but was unable to keep up with the hot pace set by playing partner Xander Schauffele;, Leishman’s first bogey in 32 holes at the par-4 16th dropping him down to a tie for fourth, a birdie at 18 a nice way to leave Maui.
Schauffele had an eagle putt on the last to shoot 12-under 61 but ran it three feet past, the return putt for birdie putting him one shot clear of Gary Woodland in the group behind.
The clubhouse leader always has a nervous wait but when Woodland left his birdie putt outside the right edge, the 2017 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year claimed his fourth PGA TOUR title in the space of 18 months.
Given his win in Malaysia in October and runner-up finish at the Australian PGA Championship, Leishman began the tournament as one of the fancied tips to win and is focused on turning strong results into titles in 2019. “I probably played more this off season than I have in any off season since I've been on Tour” Leishman said.
“My young lads, Harvey and Ollie, they're playing in, they have just gotten into golf so they sort of give me motivation to go out and play with them. “It was kind of mixed emotions. I was happy with the trip but finishing second twice there was some disappointment there as well.
“Confident that I'm playing good but motivated to try and lift another trophy. It's obviously fun to do that and didn't get to do that in Australia.” Day had his entire entourage with him at the Kapalua Resort – including baby boy Arrow – and gave them plenty to cheer about over the course of the final round. A horror front nine in his third round put Day well back in the pack going into the final round but he gathered momentum early courtesy of four consecutive birdies from the second to the fifth holes.
Bogeys at seven and eight stalled any sense of a Sunday charge but four further birdies and a chip-in eagle at 14 saw Day sign for a 66 and a 13th-place finish. Next up for the Aussie PGA TOUR contingent is the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club where Cameron Davis, Matt Jones, Danny Lee, Curtis Luck, Adam Scott and Cameron Smith will commence their 2019 campaigns.
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