Date: December 01, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Leish goes on PGA birdie blitz

Marc Leishman stretched the Australian PGA Championship field today and Adam Scott was the chief casualty.

Leishman, out on the 10th tee early on the second day at Royal Pines, opened with back-to-back birdies and soon had an eagle on the par-five 15th for the second consecutive day.

The Victorian ended with seven birdies, that eagle and two bogeys as he carded a spectacular 65 to reach 12 under and share the lead with Adam Bland, who has a pair of tidy 66s to his name.

But the big Queensland galleries will have to make do without former champion Scott, who endured a string of back-nine bogeys in a 74 that left him at two over and two shots on the wrong side of red-hot even-par cut line.

But he wasn't the only big name who'll miss the weekend action with Matt Griffin, Mikko Ilonen, Marcus Fraser, Jonas Blixt, Dimi Papadatos and Robert Allenby also on the outer.

But there are still plenty of big guns ready to fire on the Gold Coast.

among those to make their move was West Australian veteran and dual champion Greg Chalmers, whose 66 left him outright third at 10 under.

Cam Smith, Jordan Zunic and Rhein Gibson share fourth a shot further back, while defending champion Harold Varner added to the 66 party as he reached T7 alongside James Nitties and Brett Rankin.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia remains in contention after a 71 left him six under, in a share of 10th with Hong Kong Open champ Wade Ormsby (67) and the evergreen Peter Senior (71), while Curtis Luck found his groove with an impressive 66 to hit back and reach five under.

But it was Leishman, the world No.13, who stole the show.

He attacked pins all day and backed himself to rebound from any bogies. There were blemishes on 12 and 18, but the damage was limited by quick positive replies.

"It was a good day," the Warrnambool ace said.

"I felt really good on the range and felt good yesterday (Thursday) as well. But I was striking the ball well and thought I would be pretty aggressive all day, especially after birdieing the first couple of holes.

"When you're on a run like that and playing well, you sort of can afford to be aggressive. If you make a few mistakes, you feel like you can make some birdies.

"So I had a couple of bogeys that were a little bit disappointing, probably 12 especially, but went for that green thinking I was going to try and make an eagle. When you do that, that happens occasionally. But lots of birdies, an eagle on 15. Yeah, happy with the day."

Leishman has three wins on the US PGA Tour and wins at most levels in Australia, except for a "tier one" title.

"There's obviously a long way to go. Playing in front of friends and family, that's always nice no matter where it is. Here there seems to be more friends and family because it's a bit closer to home. I think it would be huge (to win)," Leishman said.

"We play tournaments all around the world and a lot of the places you don't have a whole lot of support, so I think that would be the big thing. And another thing is to, you know, to win a tournament that you've grown up watching on TV, that you've gone and watched as a kid.

"I went and watched the Australian PGA for the first time when it was at Victoria (in 1999). You go there and of course one day you hope you're going to play in it and possibly win it. If it was to happen, it would be pretty huge."