Leishman lurks despite cracking beginnings

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by Tony Webeck, PGA of Australia

World Number 21 Marc Leishman has once again shown that enough is good enough after he recovered from a scratching start and placed 4-under-68 in the opening round of the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

Eager to begin in the same way as 12 months ago when he was gripped by 36 holes, Leishman set his opening place of the tournament – the par-4 10th – three times to be early in the backseat and made the turn on par .

Back-to-back birdies at the third and fifth holes swayed momentum in the right way with further birdies at seven and nine, bringing him to two shots of early leaders Jake McLeod and Matt Jager.

"It could have been worse," Leishman admitted. "I could easily even par par.

"I did something similar in Malaysia (where he won the CIMB Classic), did not have my best things in the first round and if you take some good pictures, you can attack a bit more.

"I'm not saying I was playing badly, it was not just an impeccable lap, I would say, it was a very good round for the way I hit it

"That has been my goal in recent years, if I do not have my best golf, my best things, to still shoot at par, I have not put myself out of the tournament with a round.

"I'm getting better at it, I can still improve it, but just as my good rounds are really good, I do not have to make the bad rounds so bad.

"Hopefully I can play a little better tomorrow and do the same as last year and hopefully I will be in charge after two rounds."

Leishman's opening shot found the right rough but a solid approach shot gave him a look at birdie, a putt with which he drove eight feet further than the hole before he missed the one who came back.

Greens that were noticeably faster than they were before noon for Wednesday, required a quick adjustment, Leishman found his reach with a bird on the par-5 12th

"I hit a good putt at 11 that did not go in, and then made a putt at 12 for birdie of about 10 feet," explained Leishman.

"I hit a lot of good putts today, they were faster today than they were yesterday, for sure.

"That makes it easier to get on, but they are still pretty grainy, but you expect you to come to Queensland, especially when the weather is as it is.

"It's just hard to attack them, and if I had to predict a score, I would not think it would be as low as last year just because it will be harder to make putts."

"If you do not line up and perform perfectly on these greens when there is grain, if grain is a factor, you can see them as if they are going in. And if they are a little too hard, they will not break, and of course a little soft, they will break through the hole, so I hit a few putts

"I was happy with the number of putts I made today."

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