Leishman draws comedian at Australian PGA

LAST week it was Ricky Ponting, yesterday it was comedian Dave Hughes watching Marc Leishman.

And like his first round in the Australian Open seven days ago, Leishman enjoyed the spotlight, carding an opening round 69 at the Australian PGA Championship on the Sunshine Coast.

The Warrnambool professional revealed he bumped into fellow Warrnambool boy, funny-man Hughes while walking to a tee during yesterday’s opening round. 

With a delay on the tee, Leishman and Hughes had a short chat.

“I’d never met him before,” Leishman said.

The 29-year-old’s three-under-par round leaves him well-placed heading into today’s second round, five shots behind leader Daniel Popovic on eight under.

Leishman was pleased with his day’s work in variable winds.

“I played pretty good,” Leishman said.

“It was a reasonably tough day.  It was good to play well and have a decent round.

“It’s good to not be already behind the eight ball.”

Leishman, who started on the 10th, was even through nine holes but a string of birdies had him smiling on the way home. 

He had four birdies in seven holes before dropping a shot on the par-three eighth, his 17th hole.

“I played solid,” Leishman said.

Leishman said the strong start meant he would take a more positive approach into today’s second round.

Instead of worrying about making the half-way cut, Leishman said he would be focusing on trying to close the gap.

Leishman said he wouldn’t be getting ahead of himself but was confident he could push to climb the leaderboard today.

“If you shoot two or three over in the first round you are only worried about making the cut, you still have to make the cut, but I have to look at how I’m going to get to them (the leaders),” Leishman told The Standard.

Leishman said he had got the better of the conditions yesterday despite the wind changing direction regularly but it strengthened for the afternoon groups. 

His playing partners, last week’s Australian Open winner Peter Senior was again prominent with a four-under 68 while South African Rory Sabbatini had a four-over 76.

Nullawarre trainee professional golfer Quinton Howe made his debut in the PGA Championship yesterday.  

Teeing off in the afternoon, Howe  made a bright start with a birdie on the second before carding eight over.

grbest@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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