Leishman clinches Bay Hill title

- Agence France-Presse, MIAMI

Mar 21, 2017-

Australia’s Marc Leishman sank a 51-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole and held off a charging Rory McIlroy and two others to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday.

One-putting the last four holes at Bay Hill, the 33-year-old Aussie surged late to claim his first US victory since 2012.

“It just all came together,” Leishman said. “To do it here is really good. It was just an unbelievable day.”

Leishman fired a final-round three-under par 69 to stand on 11-under 277 for 72 holes at the famed Orlando, Florida, layout in the first event since the death of tournament namesake Palmer, the golf legend who had hosted the event annually. 

Americans Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman, co-leaders entering the final round, each fired 73s to share second on 278 with McIlroy and England’s Tyrell Hatton sharing fourth on 279 and Canada’s Adam Hadwin on 280.

McIlroy jumped past Australia’s Jason Day to become world number two on Monday with American Dustin Johnson still atop the rankings, but a closing bogey ended his title bid in what became a four-man shootout down the final holes. “Around here, things can change so quick,” Leishman said. “You’ve just got to stay right in it, not think about what’s the end result, just focus on what you’ve got to do. I was focused on my putts and luckily they all went into the hole.”

Leishman’s first victory in front of his family was enough to qualify him for the Masters in three weeks at Augusta National, where he shared fourth in 2013.

His only prior US PGA victory had come in the 2012 Travelers Championship.

His lone European Tour title was at the 2015 Nedbank Challenge, although he was a British Open runner-up in 2015, losing in a playoff to Zach Johnson.

Nordqvist wins Founders Cup

PHOENIX: Anna Nordqvist closed with a four-under 68 at the LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup on Sunday to hold off a trio of former major champions and earn her first victory of 2017.

Over the four days, Nordqvist posted 26 birdies, one eagle and just three bogeys to finish at 25-under 263, two shots better than Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, South Korean Chun In-Gee and Stacy Lewis of the US.

This is the first win for the 29-year-old Swede since the debacle at the 2016 US Women’s Open in July where she was assessed a two stroke penalty in the playoff which allowed Brittany Lang to the claim the title. “Of all the wins this is probably one of the ones that’s going to be more special,” she said.

Nordqvist’s score to par came within two strokes of the LPGA record of 27-under set in 2001 by fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam and matched last year by Kim Sei-Young. 

Published: 21-03-2017 09:55

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