It was billed as Jason Day’s unlikely return to the winner’s circle yet it was Marc Leishman who came from the clouds to be the best of the Aussies at the PGA TOUR’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut.
A breakthrough victory by Junseok Lee at the Kolon 63rd Korea Open – the richest event on the Korean PGA Tour – was the standout performance by an Australian this week but the attention was focused intently on TPC River Highlands and a host of Aussies in contention.
Battling a back injury and hay fever, Day held the 36-hole lead at the Travelers Championship as he sought to end a three-year winless streak and started the final round in a share of third one stroke back.
A second consecutive round of even-par 70 would see Day fall into a tie for 10th as Leishman rose from the pack with a final round of 6-under 64.
Tied for 17th at the start of the final round, Leishman made birdie at one, four six and nine to charge up the leaderboard and was well and truly in the hunt after birdies at 13 and 15.
Knowing that 12-under might not be enough, Leishman took an aggressive line with his approach shot at the 72nd hole and found the greenside bunker, recalling Jordan Spieth’s 2017 playoff heroics as he sought one final birdie.
“Definitely thought about Spieth there,” Leishman said, Spieth holing out from the same bunker to win in spectacular fashion four years ago.
“I said to Matty (Kelly, Leishman’s caddie), it’s probably the most makeable bunker shot I’ve had in five years.
“If all I do is get it out of the bunker there was a little downslope and then back up to the hole, so I was thinking about making it.
“Thought I had made it there for a little bit.”
The 2012 Travelers Championship was Leishman’s first on the PGA TOUR. He came storming home from six strokes back in the final round and was trying to channel that performance again nine years later.
“It’s just a hard place to lead at because it’s that sort of golf course where there is trouble everywhere,” Leishman added.
“That’s kind of an interesting thing about this course. One, two, three, six and seven are all birdie holes, so if you get out two, three hours before the leaders you can get ahead of them early and put a little bit pressure on them, make them have to push.
“Every time I’ve seemed to have played well here I’ve come from behind. I guess you play a lot freer when you’re behind.
“It’s nice to be able to do that and have a little less pressure.”
Like Leishman, Adam Scott (67) made a significant move up the leaderboard in the final round to finish tied for 13th – equal to his best result since January – and Lucas Herbert (69) took advantage of his effort to Monday qualify to finish tied for 19th.
A double-bogey at the par-3 eighth and a triple at the par-4 12th brought Cameron Smith’s hopes undone as he fell from a share of third to a tie for 30th with a Sunday 74, Matt Jones (73) and Cameron Percy (70) also playing all four rounds.
Elsewhere this week Grace Kim continued her impressive progression towards a professional career by finishing tied for 10th in her maiden start on the Symetra Tour as rookie Gabi Ruffels finished as the best of the Aussies at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut
Winner Harris English 67-68-67-65—267 $US1.332m
3 Marc Leishman 69-66-69-64—268 $510,600
T10 Jason Day 69-62-70-70—271 $186,850
T13 Adam Scott 69-69-67-67—272 $132,583
T19 Lucas Herbert 70-67-67-69—273 $87,690
T30 Cameron Smith 67-68-66-74—275 $45,325
T36 Matt Jones 70-66-67-73—276 $30,743
T54 Cameron Percy 70-66-72-70—278 $17,094
MC Danny Lee 71-69—140
Kolon 63rd Korea Open
Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, Cheonan, Korea
Winner Junseok Lee 66-69-70-71—276 KRW400m
T56 Kevin Chun 74-69-74-79—296 KRW5m
MC Wonjoon Lee 80-74—154
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Atlanta Athletic Club, John’s Creek, Georgia
Winner Nelly Korda 70-63-68-68—269 $US675,000
T33 Gabriela Ruffels 76-65-72-75—288 $28,229
T40 Minjee Lee 73-72-74-70—289 $21,587
T52 Lydia Ko 72-72-74-73—291 $14,442
63 Su Oh 73-72-75-74—294 $10,775
MC Sarah Kemp 78-69—147
MC Katherine Kirk 78-70—148
MC Hannah Green 72-76—148
BMW International Open
Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany
Winner Viktor Hovland 68-67-64-70—269 €229,650
T14 Ryan Fox 70-72-66-69—277 €21,175
T26 Scott Hend 73-68-72-66—279 €14,584
T29 Josh Geary 69-71-71-69—280 €12,365
T42 Min Woo Lee 66-73-69-74—282 €7,994
T55 Wade Ormsby 65-75-75-69—284 €5,438
T60 Maverick Antcliff 70-69-73-73—285 €4,967
MC Dimitrios Papadatos 67-77—144
MC Deyen Lawson 75-72—147
MC Jake McLeod 74-77—151
MC Elvis Smylie 76-75—151
Japan Golf Tour
Dunlop SRIXON Fukushima Open
Grandee Nasushirakawa Golf Club, Fukushima
Winner Ryosuke Kinoshita 70-66-65-62—263 ¥10,000,000
T37 Scott Strange 71-68-69-67—275 ¥245,000
T41 Andrew Evans 64-71-73-68—276 ¥200,000
Korn Ferry Tour
Live and Work in Maine Open
Falmouth Country Club, Falmouth, Maine
Winner Chad Ramey 67-65-68-68—268 $US108,000
T30 Jamie Arnold 67-70-69-73—279 $3,638
T41 Nick Voke 71-69-74-66—280 $2,910
MC Mark Hensby 71-70—141
MC Brett Drewitt 72-73—145
MC Harrison Endycott 75-71—146
Open de Bretagne
Golf Bluegreen de Pléneuf Val André, Pleneuf, France
Winner Julien Brun 64-68-66-69—267 €32,000
T23 Daniel Hillier 66-69-70-72—277 €1,820
Ladies European Tour
Tipsport Czech Ladies Open
Golf Club Beroun, Beroun, Czech Republic
Winner Atthaya Thitikul 68-68-65—201 €30,000
T11 Stephanie Kyriacou 70-69-68—207 €3,916
MC Whitney Hillier 72-73—145
MC Amy Walsh 79-81—160
Prasco Charity Championship
TPC River’s Bend, Cincinnati, Ohio
Winner Meghan MacLaren 68-70-69—207 $US26,250
T10 Grace Kim (a) 68-72-71—211 —–
T47 Soo Jin Lee 68-76-77—221 $881
MC Stephanie Na 74-75—149
MC Julienne Soo 69-80—149
MC Hira Naveed 71-79—150
MC Robyn Choi 78-76—154
MC Julianne Alvarez 83-77—160
Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship
Firestone CC (South Course), Akron, Ohio
Winner Steve Stricker 63-68-72-70—273
T7 Rod Pampling 70-75-69-70—284
T42 John Senden 74-74-74-71—293
T52 David McKenzie 73-74-74-75—296
T52 Stephen Leaney 70-72-76-78—296