Date: July 20, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes @ St Andrews

Fraser rides wave with mate

It’s not often you can play in the third round of a major championship with a great mate.

It’s even less frequent that the pair of you can shut out the white noise of such a pressure moment and play as if it’s the Wednesday chook run at your local club.

But so smooth was yesterday’s pairing of Marc Leishman and Marcus Fraser that the long-time mates, who still share Denis McDade as coach, had a day they’ll never forget.

Not only did Leishman carve the week’s best round of 64, Fraser got caught up in the magic and posted his own 68 to surge to five under.

That’s 13 combined birdies against just one bogey in a round they both clearly loved.

“I was just trying to tag along with Leish,” Fraser joked.

“He got off to a flyer and I was just trying to keep up. Couldn't do that, but still pretty happy for him, otherwise a good score on the Old Course — that's always good.”

The Corowa ace said his mate’s momentum helped drag him along for the ride.

“For sure. I was just plodding along and I think I turned even par and then once he sort of lit up, I sort of just tried to tag along the back of it and managed to make about four birdies in the last 10 holes.

“Definitely I was excited for him to play well, but I wanted to join in the party, as well, and try and make some of my own, so it was nice to do that. It was good fun.”

“It feels like I've been playing all right all week, the last few weeks, but haven't really got anything out of it, so it was nice to have a pretty steady round and play some good golf again.”

Fraser said he thought he was witnessing history – the major championship record is 63 – when Leishman nailed a birdie on the 15th to reach eight under.

“I thought we were for sure. On 16 and 17 he hit two — nearly his two best putts for the day — and they managed to stay out so it was a bit unlucky, and then it was good to see him get up and down on the last to go and shoot 8-under.

“He played pretty much flawless golf all day long. It was pretty impressive to watch.”

The only downside for the pair was that McDade, who’s been in St Andrews all week, had left for Edinburgh en route to the Canadian Open next week.

“He's on his way to the airport, so he can't take any credit for Leish's performance today, I don't think,” Fraser prodded his long-time mentor.

“No, I feel sorry for him because it's the first time we've played together in a long time and to be paired together in a major at the British Open, he's missed out on it.

“We'll send him a few texts, don't worry.”

And to cap a great day, Fraser said he didn’t get sucked into a side bet for a couple of pounds with Leishman.

“Thankfully there wasn’t a bet there today – I would have done my nuts,” he joked.