Date: June 25, 2012

Grant Report – Leishman breaks through in U.S.

Propelled by a final round 62, Warrnambool’s Marc Leishman claimed his first PGA TOUR title at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and ended the long wait for an Australian victory in the US this season.

The 28-year-old had to endure a frustrating wait before claiming the prize after he grabbed the early clubhouse lead then watched as his rivals fell to pieces over the closing holes.

Leishman claimed the title at 14-under par, one shot clear of Americans Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman, who threw away a once three-shot lead with a double bogey-bogey finish.

“Mum and Dad probably woke up this morning and got a real shock when they didn’t have to scroll down too far at all to find my name on,” Leishman said later.

He became the fifth player in the last seven years to record his first career win at the Travelers Championship, joining past champions that include fellow Australian Greg Norman.

“It’s unbelievable. It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s been a while since I won a tournament, probably four years I guess, so to have this (trophy) sitting next to me knowing its mine for a year, is pretty cool.”

Leishman said he drew inspiration from fellow Victorian Marcus Fraser, who finished second in a playoff on the European Tour at the weekend.

“Denis McDade, he’s my coach, and he also coaches Marcus Fraser who lost in a playoff on the European Tour today,” Leishman said.

“That was actually a little incentive for me, I was watching Frase on TV before I teed off and thought I’d try and get one for Denis.”

Leishman earned US$1,080,000 and secured his future on the PGA Tour until the end of 2014.

Of the other Australians in the field, Stuart Appleby finished in a share of 18th at 8-under while Nathan Green was a further shot back in T24.

Fraser continues to shine in Europe, finishing second to England’s Danny Willett in a playoff at the BMW International.

The Australian three putted the fourth and final hole of the playoff to hand the title to 24 year old Willett, a former English Amateur Champion.

The second place finish earned Fraser €222,000 and lifted him into 15th position in the Race to Dubai with €610,000.

And on the Japan Golf Tour Sydney’s Brad Kennedy claimed his first title in Japan.

Kennedy, who won last year’s BMW New Zealand Open on the PGA Tour of Australasia, blitzed the Mizuno Open field to win by three shots and claim the cheque for ¥22,000,000.  

He also earned a spot in the field for this year’s British Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes, with the tournament doubling as the Japan Golf Tour qualifying for The Open.

Nick Cullen finished as the next best Australian in Japan (10th), although Cullen already has a start at The Open Championship courtesy of International Final Qualifying Australasia in Melbourne earlier this year.

Leishman has long promised success in the US. He twice finished runner-up on the PGA Tour, and tied for third at the Byron Nelson Championship last month.

Leishman was named PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2009 but failed to translate that into victories.

"After my rookie of the year season I didn’t win. But now hopefully I can take a few more," he said.