Close to 1,000 Australian golf fans will get to see Marc Leishman in the flesh for free after the Victorian recorded the fourth PGA Tour win of his career at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia on Sunday.
When it was announced earlier in the year that the reigning Greg Norman Medal winner would be returning to the Gold Coast to contest the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort from November 29 the PGA of Australia began a promotion whereby ‘If Leish wins, you win’.
Six weeks out from the tournament and with almost 1,000 people registered the 34-year-old finally delivered, closing out a five-shot win over Emiliano Grillo, Chesson Hadley and Bronson Burgoon in impressive fashion at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
It was Leishman’s first win since his triumph at the BMW Championship last September and is hopefully a portent of more success over the Aussie summer where he will represent Australia at the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf in Melbourne and then seek to win his first Australian PGA title in front of what will now be a very appreciative gallery.
With a history of strong results at the CIMB Classic it was a less than auspicious start for Leishman who bogeyed the opening hole of the tournament and struggled to bring his driver under control over the opening nine holes.
But from the third hole of his second round Leishman played the next 23 holes in 16-under par to vault to the top of the leaderboard alongside Woodland and Shubhankar Sharma at 19-under par with 18 holes left to play.
Four straight birdies from the second hole opened up a two-shot buffer over Woodland early on Sunday and when a 50-foot bomb dropped on the ninth hole he made the turn at 24-under and with the tournament well in hand.
A bogey at the par-4 13th after his approach from the right rough found the greenside bunker stalled Leishman’s momentum but only momentarily, a perfectly played chip at the par-3 15th leading to a crucial par save at an important time.
Having his ball finish in a divot at the short 16th didn’t stop Leishman from making his sixth birdie of the day, a par at 17 and closing birdie at the par-5 18th the best way possible to mark a return to the winner’s circle.
Leishman’s World Cup partner, Cameron Smith, was the only other Australian in the field and finished tied for 22nd at 16-under par while New Zealand’s Danny Lee – who recorded an ace in the first round – shot 66 on Sunday to finish tied for 33rd.
Lee will also head to Australia as he partners Ryan Fox to represent New Zealand at the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf.
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