Leishman victorious at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Marc Leishman (Photo: Felix A. Marquez)

Marc Leishman (Photo: Felix A. Marquez)

Australia has won back-to-back titles at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with Marc Leishman winning his second PGA TOUR title this morning.

Jason Day entered the tournament as the defending champion but it was Leishman who has holding the trophy in the iconic red cardigan on Sunday afternoon.

Leishman fired rounds of 71, 66, 71, 69 to win the title by one shot from Americans Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.

“It’s such a special year to honour Mr. Palmer how they have. It’s unbelievable. Obviously, it’s sad not to have him up there on 18, but to play how I did and to win any tournament’s huge, but especially this one.

“You get the extra year exemption and everything that comes along with that. So it’s a Presidents Cup year, there’s a lot of reasons that I wanted to play good. My family is here; it’s just a special day and couldn’t have worked out any better.

An eagle at the 16th, thanks to sinking a huge 50 foot putt, gave Leishman the lead.

“The putter was pivotal all week. I’ve been putting well all year and it’s nice to be able to hole putts the last few days. That was key to do that. I gave myself chances for putts and, yeah, it was an awesome day and I couldn’t have drawn it up any better.

“That one on 16, I actually hit that putt earlier in the week and missed it low left, and I worked on that, so practice pays off,” said Leishman.

Playing the group ahead of Kisner and Hoffman, Leishman held a one shot advantage in the clubhouse which neither of the Americans was able to neutralise.

It was a special win for Leishman who had been playing good golf coming into the week.

“I’ve been playing well all year. I got a new Callaway driver in at the start of the year and it’s really been a game changer,” added Leishman.

“I’ve been driving it better than I ever have. It’s funny; the game’s a lot easier out of the fairway. So that’s been probably the biggest difference.

“Then just the putter. The putter’s been amazing this year. The stats probably show that. Especially this week.

“But I feel like all year it’s been really close and I just haven’t played how I wanted to on Sundays. But today was great.”

It was an important win for Leishman who has now booked a start at The Masters in 15 days time.

PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman commended Leishman on his first victory since winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge and his second on the PGA TOUR after he won the Travelers Championship in 2012.

“On behalf of the PGA of Australia I’d like to congratulate Marc on becoming the first Australian Professional to win on the PGA TOUR this season,” Kirkman said.

“Congratulations must also go to PGA Teaching Professional and Marc’s coach, Dennis McDade, I’m sure the pair will savour this terrific result before preparing for The Masters in April.”

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