Marc Leishman finishes with flourish to claim CIMB Classic

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - OCTOBER 14: Marc Leishman of Australia celebrates on the 18th hole after winning the CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur on October 14, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Marc Leishman finishes with flourish to claim CIMB Classic

Digital Edition

Marc Leishman finishes with flourish to claim CIMB Classic

Entering the final round of the CIMB Classic in a three-way tie for the lead, Marc Leishman got some early separation with four birdies in his first five holes.

“I had that lead and I was very determined not to lose it,” Leishman said.

The steadfast Aussie continued to build and turned in a 7-under 65 Sunday at TPC Kuala Lumpur, blowing past 54-hole co-leaders Gary Woodland and Shubhankar Sharma for a five-shot victory.

It’s the fourth PGA Tour win for Leishman, 34, and it gets the veteran back on track after a winless 2017-18 season.

“I knew that even though I got off to a good start, I still needed to grind because there’s some tough holes out there,” Leishman said. “Managed to hit some good shots and this is the result. It’s great to be back in the winner’s circle.”

Leishman finished at 26-under 262 for the week in pristine scoring conditions, highlighted by a 10-under 62 in Friday’s second round. Woodland tied the course record with an 11-under 61 that day and was still in contention on the back nine Sunday.

Woodland faltered with bogeys at 12, 14 and 15 and finished T-5 at 20 under. Looking for his first PGA Tour win, Sharma shot even-par 72 in the final round and dropped to T-10. Emiliano Grillo, Bronson Burgoon and Chesson Hadley were T-2.

Sharma, a 22-year-old from Jhansi, India, turned pro at age 16 and now has two top-10 finishes in 12 career starts.

“It pushes me to keep playing well,” Sharma said. “I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour and I’ve given myself two opportunities.”

Two-time winner Justin Thomas was in action for the first time since his impressive Ryder Cup debut and shot 8-under 64 in the final round for a T-5 finish.

While not at Thomas’ level, Leishman continues to build his profile as one of the upper-tier players and a guy capable of contending each week. Now he can rest a little easier after a 13-month winless stretch.

“Having success early in the season, you think about winning more and you can take a few more risks,” Leishman said. “I guess sometimes early in the season, if you’re one or two (shots) back, you don’t want to do anything silly because you don’t want to go from second back to 12th or whatever. But once you’ve got a good early start you can really just think about winning and that’s exciting for next week and the rest of the year.”
The next step for Leishman is getting back into contention in the final round of a major. He hasn’t seriously done it since losing a three-way playoff at the 2015 British Open and has just two top-10 finishes in 13 major appearances since.

Nothing seems to be holding Leishman back in that regard. He’s clearly capable of holding a lead, capable of big birdie binges. Has a strong enough short game. He also figures to have plenty more chances at his age.

Leishman has a reputation as one of the nicest guys on Tour, but he’s looking to get greedy after an ideal start to the season.

“Hopefully I can try and lift a few more trophies and make this my best year yet,” Leishman said. Gwk

Latest

More Digital Edition
Home