Play­off loss to drive as­sault

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

MARC Leish­man says he will use the dis­ap­point­ment of his Bri­tish Open play­off de­feat as a spur to­wards US PGA suc­cess next month, at­tempt­ing to join fel­low Aus­tralians Jason Day and Adam Scott as recog­nised ti­tle con­tenders.

Now ranked 27th in the world, Leish­man had the chance to be­come Aus­tralia’s first Open win­ner since Greg Nor­man in 1993 when he led at St An­drews by a stroke with three holes to play.

He ul­ti­mately lost a four­hole play­off to Amer­i­can Zach John­son, who beat South African Louis Oosthuizen by a stroke in a dra­matic fi­nale.

Leish­man, 31, pro­duced phe­nom­e­nal clos­ing rounds of 64 and 66 to fin­ish at 15- un­der to share a tie of sec­ond with 2010 cham­pion Oosthuizen.

And af­ter out­per­form­ing Day ( 14- un­der) and Scott ( 10un­der), the Vic­to­rian knows he is ca­pa­ble of hoist­ing a ma­jor, de­spite al­most quit­ting in March be­cause of his wife Au­drey’s brush with death.

“Any time you can shoot in the 60s over the week­end of any tour­na­ment, I think it’s pretty good,” he said.

“But yeah, to do it in a ma­jor was great. Hope­fully, I’ll have a chance to outdo that and do bet­ter some day.

“It would be nice to shoot those num­bers and win and have some great mem­o­ries.

“I’ve got some re­ally good mem­o­ries from this week.

“It would have been ob­vi­ously a lot bet­ter if I could have won.”

Leish­man looked set to be­come Aus­tralia’s first Open cham­pion at St An­drews since Kel Nagle in 1960 un­til he bo- geyed the 16th af­ter his ap­proach found a green­side bunker. Af­ter hit­ting to less than 2m, Leish­man missed the par putt.

“That was pretty dis­ap­point­ing,” he said. “Hit a re­ally good bunker shot and didn’t fin­ish it off.

“I was def­i­nitely happy with the way I played and gave it my best shot.”

Leish­man said he would he would not dwell long on fail­ure, given the tra­vails his wife Au­drey has faced.

She al­most died in April af­ter a bac­te­rial in­fec­tion shut down most of her or­gans, leav­ing Leish­man to face the prospect of rais­ing the cou­ple’s two young sons with­out her.

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