Marc Leishman has described it as the best putting day of his life after the Victorian overhauled a four-shot deficit to win the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, the fifth career title of his PGA TOUR career.
Teeing off just hours after fellow Victorian Lucas Herbert’s win on the European Tour, Leishman roared into contention with four birdies in his opening six holes and then made what Nick Faldo described in commentary as three “mega-pars” at 12, 14 and 15 to win by a single stroke from Jon Rahm.
Rahm had a putt for eagle on the 72nd hole to force the tournament into extra holes but unlike his win at the venue three years ago, the putt pulled up short and left of the cup, allowing Leishman to take a congratulatory phone call on the range.
In the ultimate vindication of the old adage that you “drive for show, putt for dough”, Leishman was dead last in the field for fairways hit in the final round with just three of 14 but picked up close to five shots on the field with his flatstick, his 7-under 65 matched by Charley Hoffman but two shots better than anyone else.
“Number five, that sounds pretty good, and on Australia Day,” Leishman said immediately after win No.5 was confirmed.
“Playing well helps but I didn’t actually hit it that well off the tee today.
“Putting, always. You’re not going to win Tour events if you’re not putting well and I putted as good as I’ve probably ever putted today.
“Made some good birdie putts early and then made some great par saves later. They’re probably even more important than the early ones.
“This feels pretty amazing. I wasn’t expecting this at the start of the day.”
Leishman joins Jason Day (2015, 2018) as the only Australian winners in the 68-year history of the Farmers Insurance Open, Day closing out his return from a back injury with a 3-under 69 to be tied for 16th.
Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines (South Cse), La Jolla, California
1 Marc Leishman 68-72-68-65—273 $US1,350,000
T16 Jason Day 73-67-72-69—281 $114,375
T36 Cameron Percy 68-73-74-69—284 $32,667
T36 Cameron Davis 76-65-69-74—284 $32,667
T64 Aaron Baddeley 71-72-69-76—288 $16,050
T64 Cameron Smith 70-71-74-73—288 $16,050
70 Rhein Gibson 69-73-72-76—290 $15,375
T73 Matt Jones 75-68-73-76—292 $14,625
MC Tim Wilkinson 72-73—145
MC John Senden 76-76—152
WD Danny Lee 79