Marc aims to wash up his old dinner partner
RACV Royal Pines, Gold Coast, Queensland
MARC Leishman seeks to go from minor to major by claiming this week’s Australian PGA Championship from good friend and defending champion Cameron Smith at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast.
“To win in your own country is a lot of fun,” said Leishman.
“I’ve done it in secondtier events and to win a significant title on home soil is a huge career goal of mine.”
The 35-year-old Victorian celebrated Smith’s play-off success 12 months ago over another Australian, Jordan Zunic, and Smith repaid the compliment when Leishman captured last month’s CIMB Classic on the PGA Tour by five shots in Kuala Lumpur.
“We had dinner together almost every night in Malaysia so it was great that Cam waited at the 18th green on the last day,” added Leishman, who this weekend is partnering Smith in the World Cup of Golf.
“We celebrated in typical Aussie style with beer and pizzas.”
Leishman, a three-time PGA Tour winner, has claimed four Aussie titles in addition to the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge and, after finishing 21st in 2016 and fourth last year, he is convinced the course at Royal Pines suits his game.
It certainly fits the eye of American Harold Varner III – champion in 2016, runner-up in 2015 and sixth last year – and not surprisingly he returns and looks the most likely danger to deny Leishman or Smith making it three ‘home’ wins in four years since Melbourne’s Nathan Holman triumphed in 2015.
Andrew ‘Beef ’ Johnson bids to emulate fellow Englishman David Howell, who won in 1998, but another Australian, 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, could challenge at the age of 41 for a title he won ten years ago.
Career goal: Marc Leishman