The good news is that Marc Leishman’s consistency of quality remains. The possibly better news is that Jason Day is showing signs of a resurgence.
Leishman finished tied-fourth in the US PGA Tour’s year-opening Tournament of Champions at Kapalua resort in Hawaii today, never threatening to win but still managing his game well.
Starting out four shots behind third-round leader Gary Woodland, the Australian came home with a largely incident-free 71 to finish 15-under par overall.
He collects $ US 256,000 and remains in the top three on the season-long points race.
Day roared home with a fourth-round 66 after an electrifying front nine, and ended up just outside the top 10.
American Xander Schauffele, the 2017 Tour Championship winner, jumped out of the pack and ran down Woodland with an amazing final-round of 11-under par 62 that included two eagles – one from a chip-in at the par-five ninth and then a 100-metre wedged hole-out at the par-four 12th hole.
He overtook Woodland with another birdie at the par-four 17th hole and hit a pure three wood to the par-18th to keep himself ahead. He missed his putt from four metres to eagle the 72nd hole, but tapped in for birdie and waited for Woodland to finish.
Woodland chipped to just outside three metres at the last and had a putt to force a playoff, but it leaked away to the right and he gave up another 54-hole lead, the seventh time he has led into a final round on tour and lost.
At just 25 years of age, Schauffele is inside the top 10 players in the world and potentially headed to No. 1 at some point. He was just a shot off the Kapalua course record and remarkably, his round included a bogey at the first hole when he pulled his drive way left.
Eight birdies and and two eagles later, he had his fourth tour victory.