Marc Leishman secured a stunning victory at the CIMB Classic to become the first Australian and non-American to win the US$7 million tournament.
The 34-year-old Leishman posted a final round seven-under-par 65 to claim his fourth PGA TOUR title and broke the stranglehold of the Americans, who have triumphed in the last eight editions.
With a winning total of 26-under-par 262, the Australian dominated the event with a five-shot victory over Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (66), Chesson Hadley (66) and first round leader Bronson Burgoon (68). His winning score also equaled the low four-day total set by Justin Thomas in 2015.
Leishman was hot at the get-go, making four straight birdies on the second hole before adding further birdies on holes nine and 10. He dropped a shot on 13 but his lead was never threatened as he marked his card with further birdies on 16 and 18.
With the victory, Leishman earned a prize purse of US$1.26 million. He also receives invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, a winners-only event in January, along with two major championships (Masters Tournament and PGA Championship) and THE PLAYERS Championship.
“I feel unbelievable right now,” Leishman said. “On Tuesday I got here and I thought I was going to have to call Callaway and get them to leave some more golf balls in my locker, I was hitting my driver a bit sideways. Sorted that out and this is the result. I want to thank Callaway, I want to thank all my other sponsors for giving me what I need and the tools certainly worked this week.
“The golf course was amazing. Yesterday started off great and struggled on the back nine, but I think that helped me today. 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. Managed to hit some good shots and this is the result. It’s great to get back in the winner’s circle, excited to be back in Malaysia and leaving with this.”
Leishman was consistent the entire week, dropping only four bogeys while shooting 28 birdies and one eagle. On Sunday, he totaled just 25 putts, his second lowest of the week, and only made one three-putt the entire week. His 26-under-par 262 is the second lowest 72-hole total of his career (his lowest total 261 came in his victory at the 2017 BMW Championship.)
This is Leishman’s fourth PGA Tour title since winning the 2012 Travelers Championship, 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational and BMW Championship.
Top Scores after round 4 of the CIMB Classic being played at the par 72, 7005 Yards TPC Kuala Lumpur course (am – denotes amateur):
262 – Marc Leishman (AUS) 68-62-67-65.
267 – Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 66-68-67-66, Chesson Hadley (USA) 67-68-66-66, Bronson Burgoon (USA) 63-69-67-68.
268 – Justin Thomas (USA) 66-69-69-64, Abraham Ancer (MEX) 67-68-68-65, Charles Howell III (USA) 69-67-65-67, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 66-68-65-69, Gary Woodland (USA) 69-61-67-71.
269 – Kevin Chappell (USA) 66-67-71-65, Siwoo Kim (KOR) 67-71-66-65, Shubhankar Sharma (IND) 67-64-66-72.
270 – Kyle Stanley (USA) 72-68-66-64, Byeonghun An (KOR) 66-70-68-66, Paul Casey (ENG) 66-65-71-68, J.B. Holmes (USA) 67-67-67-69, Stewart Cink (USA) 68-70-63-69, Austin Cook (USA) 64-68-68-70.
271 – Keegan Bradley (USA) 70-67-68-66, Kevin Na (USA) 68-67-67-69, Nick Watney (USA) 66-67-68-70.
272 – Keith Mitchell (USA) 70-65-71-66, John Catlin (USA) 73-65-67-67, Cameron Smith (AUS) 69-69-66-68.
273 – Xander Schauffele (USA) 69-71-65-68.
274 – Joel Dahmen (USA) 66-68-69-71.
275 – Kevin Tway (USA) 70-67-71-67, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 69-70-71-65, Scott Piercy (USA) 65-67-71-72.
276 – C.T. Pan (TPE) 65-73-70-68, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 70-69-71-66, Beau Hossler (USA) 72-65-66-73.