CROMWELL, Conn. -- TPC River Highlands has a history of yielding low numbers. Marc Leishman is trying to add his name to the list.
Through his first nine holes, Leishman is 5 under on his round, making the turn in 30, to get to 11 under for the week and within one of the lead of Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher.
Davis and Thatcher will tee off at 2 p.m. ET.
So far, Leishman has missed just one green in regulation and has a half-dozen one-putts.
Leishman’s best finish this year was a tie for third at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Like the two current leaders, he’s also never won the PGA TOUR.
Others making an early move include 2010 winner Bubba Watson, who is 2 under through his first three holes and now just two off the lead. Ditto Charley Hoffman, who is 1 under through two holes.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Earlier this week, Marc Leishman teamed with fellow Aussie pros Jason Day and Nathan Green for a cricket match. The threesome found a few caddies and some other players to join their squad against a local team at a cricket ground in a suburb north of Dallas.
They did the same thing a couple of weeks ago in Charlotte, using the down time before the start of the Wells Fargo Championship to play cricket. Prior to that, the 28-year-old Leishman hadn't not played in an organized game of cricket in at least 12 years.
"Been a long time," he said about his favorite sport back home.
The 65 left him as the clubhouse leader after the morning wave was finished, and left him one stroke off the lead held by Ryan Palmer once the first round was done. More important, it left the 2009 Rookie of the Year winner with some positive vibes about his game.
"Today was a good reward for the work I've been doing the last three or four weeks," said Leishman.
Leishman said he made an adjustment to square up his club face, and has also been fighting some old habits, especially with his posture, which he said had "been a little hunched." His accuracy off the tee has been a problem this year, as he entered this week ranked 177th on TOUR in that category.
But he missed just three of 14 fairways on Thursday. "It's an easy game from the fairway," he said with a smile.
It's also easier when you can post a couple of eagles. He chipped in at the par-4 11th after he nearly drove the green at the hole, which played to 306 yards on Thursday. Five holes later, Leishman produced another eagle at the par-5 16th when his 2-iron from 243 yards left him with a relatively easy 8-foot eagle putt. He had just put the 2-iron in his bag the previous week at THE PLAYERS Championship.
The biggest thing for Leishman, though, is trying to remain patient as he waits to take the next step in his TOUR career.
In 2009, he claimed Rookie of the Year honors, thanks mostly to his performance during the FedExCup Playoffs when he became the lone rookie to reach the final stage, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He followed with a solid sophomore season in which posted a couple of top-10 finishes, including a runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open.
But after a tie for third at the 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Leishman has not been a factor. He hasn't had a top-10 since then, a stretch of 30 starts coming into this week. With Rickie Fowler's win two weeks ago at the Wells Fargo Championship, Leishman is the only past Rookie of the Year winner in the last decade not to have a TOUR win on his resume.
He said Thursday that he found himself started to press last year to end the drought, that he was becoming inpatient. Only now does he feel like he's in a better frame of mind.
"You don't have to play perfect to win," he said. "I'm learning that. I think it takes a fair while to learn that.
"I'm just trying to do what I can to give myself a chance really. I think early in this year and late last year, I was trying to push too hard. Hopefully I can do the right things."
ORLANDO – Thomas Bjorn and Bo Van Pelt withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard on Wednesday.
Van Pelt, who had a knee injury, was replaced by Ted Potter Jr. while Marc Leishman, who tied for third last year, landed Bjorn’s spot. Michael Bradley is now the first alternate.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Marc Leishman acknowledged he was more than a little nervous.
"Honestly at the end, I thought I blew it," the Australian said in all candor.
Leishman had started Monday's final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship with such promise, playing his first nine holes in 33 to move to 7 under for the tournament. But he got swept away in the wind on the back nine, making three bogeys, one double bogey, a birdie and a par over his last six holes to shot 72.
“I really like this course and I had it going early but couldn't quite finish it off,” Leishman said. “Just a bit frustrating toward the end but that's golf.”
Turns out, though, his tie for 42nd waas more than good enough to earn the Aussie a third straight trip to Chicago for the BMW Championship. Leishman, who had to birdie two of his last three holes on Saturday just to make the cut, had started the week as the bubble boy at No. 70 but moved five spots to 65th on Monday.
Leishman had been in a similar situation two years ago. He came to TPC Boston ranked 93rd but jumped to 67th when he tied for 15th at the Deutsche Bank Championship on the strength of a second-round 62. Leishman then went to Cog Hill and tied for second on the way to earning Rookie of the Year honors.
"None, really," Leishman said when asked what kind of pressure he felt. "I mean it was either play gpood and get in next week or not play good and have three weeks off. As simple as that, really."
NORTON, Mass. – The wind is already fairly brisk at TPC Boston on Monday and by the time the leaders get on the golf course at 1:45 p.m. the gusts could clock in at 20 mph.
Maybe that’s why no one is going really low early like Phil Mickelson did as he posted a 63 on Sunday. Of the 52 players who have played at least at hole right now, 24 are currently over par.
Pat Perez and Jimmy Walker have the day’s low rounds so far, shooting 67s. Walker, who came into the week ranked 48th in the FedExCup, is 4 under for the tournament and projected at No. 51.
But Perez is 1 over for the tournament and could have just made his final Playoffs appearance. He came into the week ranked 63rd and has dropped to 76th in the projections. Only the top 70 advance to next week’s BMW Championship.
On the opposite end of the ledger, Hunter Mahan is doing his best Charley Hoffman impression. Like Hoffman did in shooting a final-round 62 a year ago, Mahan has gotten off to a good start – making birdie on his first three holes to move to 8 under for the tournament and three strokes off the lead held by Bubba Watson.
Marc Leishman, who came into the week holding down the bubble spot at No. 70, is also 3 under for the day through seven holes. He’s currently projected at No. 57.
The afternoon should remain warm, with temperatures in the mid-80s, and dry although a cold front is slowly pushing through New York and western Massachusetts. Rain could enter the picture in the evening.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Marc Leishman knew Saturday was going to be a good one when he left himself birdie putts inside 5 feet on his first three holes.
The young Aussie converted all three, then got up and down for birdie at the par-5 fifth hole and staked a knock-down 6-iron to 4 feet for another at No. 8. Leishman turned in 32 on the way to a 66 that landed him squarely in the hunt for his first PGA TOUR victory.
When Leishman finished, he had climbed 41 spots up the leaderboard to 6 under. And given a weather forecast that was expected to worsen as the day progressed, he was particularly glad to get it in the house.
"Obviously I'd rather be off at 1 o'clock but it's good to get out early," Leishman said. "Fresh greens and hopefully before the wind gets up, and try and get a good number on the board, which I was able to do."
Leishman, who said the course was playing "reasonably tough," finished strong, too. He hit an 8-iron to 6 feet at the 16th hole, then drained a 25-footer at the 17th.
"I managed to hit a few fairways and knocked it really close," Leishman said. "I had a lot of short birdie putts which always helps."
Leishman had two top-10 finishes in his first eight starts this year. He's cooled off since, missing four cuts in his next seven starts, but Leishman feels that changing balls from the Pro V1x to the Pro V1 this week may be paying dividends.
"I am actually hitting it a bit straighter," Leishman said. "It's compressing off the club face a bit more and not spraying off into the bushes as much, which is nice.
"Just a little bit of a change (helps sometimes). It was getting a bit stale."
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Playing early on a Saturday means that you haven't exactly been at the top of your game during the first two rounds.
Today at the Memorial Tournament, though, it may be a blessing in disguise. That's because the weather conditions are expected to worsen as the day progresses.
A cold front will move into the area in the afternoon with scattered thunderstorms developing -- possibly with large hail, damaging winds and heavy rain. Already the winds have kicked up, storms are forming to the south and a gray haze has settled over Muirfield Village.
Winds in the morning were in the 5-10 mph range. By 3 p.m., though, the wind will be gusting to 20 mph which will make an already challenging layout even more so.
Mark Leishman is among those taking advantage of his early tee time. He just made the turn in 5 under and is four strokes off the lead. Ditto for Ben Curtis, who made the cut on the number and is 4 under through 16 holes.
In the opening round from Redstone Golf Club, Jimmy Walker ties the course record of 63 and has a two shot lead at 9-under par.
It looks like Marc Leishman is going to get another shot at a last-minute Masters invite.
Leishman, who finished third last week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, is 3 under for the day after an eagle at the par-5 13th. It's a nice comeback for Leishman, who double-bogeyed the sixth hole when he drove out of bounds.
Leishman is trying to get back to Augusta National for the second year in a row. He qualified in 2010 as a second-year TOUR player after playing in all four events in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Fun fact: There are two Marcs in the top 10 right. The other? Marc Turnesa.
TOUR INSIDER: Five players looking to punch a last-minute ticket to Augusta
ORLANDO, Fla. -- What a bizarre final round.
Martin Laird, who began the day with a two-shot lead before playing his first 11 holes in 5 over, is suddenly back in the lead at 7 under after a birdie at No. 15.
Steve Marino, meanwhile, has dropped back to 6 under, along with David Toms. They were 9 and 8 under for the tournament at one point Sunday.
Justin Rose and Marc Leishman are both in the clubhouse at 6 under -- and not out of it yet.