Victorian Marc Leishman has played his way into Presidents Cup calculations after an impressive performance in the FedEx Playoffs.
Leishman surged up the leaderboard to finish in a tie for 16th at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, won by two shots by Swede Henrik Stensen, who now sits atop the season’s points standings.
Adam Scott and Jason Day have been announced as members of captain Nick Price’s 12-man International team to meet the USA on October 3-6 at Muirfield Village in Dublin in Ohio.
At the moment they are the only two Australians confirmed for the team, which includes five South Africans – Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Richard Sterne – as well as Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, Canadian Graham DeLaet and Argentina’s Angel Cabrera.
Price is able to make two further selections as captain’s picks to complete the team on Wednesday. Leishman is now 12th on the team standings and seriously challenging for a place. One spot ahead of him in the world ranking is Thai Thongchai Jaidee while behind him are Tim Clark and Brendan De Jonge.
Leishman claimed his maiden US PGA tour win last year but has impressed Price with his tie for fourth at the Masters in April. That was one of four top-10s for the season while a solid tie for 12th in the recent US PGA Championship also strengthened the Victorian’s claims.
Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson make up the 10 automatic picks for the Americans.
US captain Fred Couples has major winners Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson just outside the automatic qualification list but could conceivably pick rookie sensation Jordan Spieth as one of his two picks.
Spieth became the youngest US PGA winner since 1931 when he claimed the John Deere Classic at 19-years-old in July and the now 20-year-old lost in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship just last month.
He finished off his push for selection with a tie for fourth after a final round 62 on Sunday.
Jason Day was the best of the Australians in Boston, finishing in a share of 13th, eight shots adrift of Stenson.
Leishman began the tournament at 76th on the points table but leapt to 58th to earn a place in the field for this week’s third playoff tournament in Chicago.
Last week’s surprise play-off winner, Adam Scott, shot 72 to finish at six-under in a tie for 53rd, slipping from second in the standings to third while Day advanced from 16th to 12th ahead of the BMW Championship.
Matt Jones missed the cut in Boston but will still tee up in the next event due to his 51st place but Stuart Appleby (T66) and Greg Chalmers (missed cut) have been eliminated from the season-ending championships.
Stenson has now moved past Woods to the top of the points. He fired a fine four-under-par 67 on a rain-soaked course to beat American Steve Stricker (67).
It was the Swede’s third US PGA triumph and has to date capped a fine year after storming through the past seven weeks with his second place at the British Open, third at the US PGA Championship, another third at the Scottish Open and a tie for second at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
"I’m pleased to have won. It was a big goal of mine to win a golf tournament after all those nice finishes so to do it I am very pleased," Stenson said.
"I have been playing nicely for a long time and this week was no exception. I hit a lot of fairways and greens and the putter was hanging in there."
Canadian Graham DeLaet (68) was third at 18-under while Spieth shared fourth with fellow Americans Matt Kuchar (66) and Kevin Stadler (68) at 17-under.
By: Robert Grant