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Leishman desperate to land an Australian prize


SYDNEY: Marc Leishman believes not having won one of Australia’s top tournaments is a significant gap in his golfing resume and the world number 21 is out to rectify that state of affairs at this week’s Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast.

The 35-year-old Australian is a four-times winner on the US PGA Tour, most recently last month at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and has notched up top-20 finishes at all four majors, including second place after a playoff at the 2015 British Open.

On home soil, however, his success has been limited to amateur events at the start of his career.

The Australian Masters has now disappeared from the calendar and Leishman decided to skip the Australian Open in Sydney two weeks ago, so the European Tour co-sanctioned event at Royal Pines is his only chance to break the drought this year. “I haven’t managed to win one of the three big Australian events yet and that’s pretty high on my list — it’s probably a missing part of my resume,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“Happy to be here and hoping to have a good week (but) it’s a great field and whoever wins the event is going to have to play great golf.

“It’s something that every Australian wants to do. It would mean a lot to win it, but a lot has to go right to win a golf tournament wherever it’s played, on the Australian tour, on the PGA Tour or on the European Tour.”

Leishman had a chance of winning a title for his country in Melbourne last week at the World Cup of Golf, but he and partner Cameron Smith came up three strokes short of Belgian winners Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry.

Smith is the defending champion at Royal Pines and is joined in the field by his American predecessor Harold Varner III, who won the title in 2016 having lost out in a playoff the previous year.

Also teeing off on Thursday are Englishman Andrew “Beef” Johnston and Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion and 2008 Australian PGA champion who has recently returned to live in Australia after two decades in the United States. — Reuters

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