WARRNAMBOOL golfer Marc Leishman fulfilled a childhood dream yesterday by winning his first event on golf’s biggest stage, the USPGA Tour.
Leishman produced a stunning final round 62 to win the Travelers Championship in Connecticut by a shot, sparking celebrations in Warrnambool and around the globe.
His American-based wife Audrey phoned the 28-year-old’s Warrnambool parents Paul and Pelita about 4am, urging them to get out of bed and tune into the coverage on pay television as Leishman went on a birdie blitz.
Leishman’s phone was choked with more than 100 congratulatory text and phone messages, many from the south-west.
Warrnambool mayor Cr Jacinta Ermacora described the win as “sensational”.
“His parents, local coaches, friends and fellow Warrnambool golfers can be very proud of his achievement and will in some way feel part of the victory,” she said.
“It helps put Warrnambool on the map.”
Shipwreck Coast Marketing chief executive Carole Reid said Leishman’s win would help raise the region’s profile in America.
“We had just recently been talking with Warrnambool Golf Club about Great Ocean Road tourism opportunities and now this win certainly makes it worthwile pursuing the potential,” she said.
“I think it will help make Americans more aware of the this part of the world. Only a very small percentage of US residents have a passport for overseas travel.” Max Taylor from Warrnambool store Taylor’s Surfodesy was quick with the paint brush this morning, putting up a huge message of congratulations on his Liebig Street front window.
He said the win was bigger than an Olympics gold medal: “I was watching it on the tele this morning and listening to Ian Baker-Finch (commentating) and it’s the first time I’ve ever heard Warrnambool put on the international map,” Mr Taylor said.
“Warrnambool was just singled out and that would have gone to nearly every house in the US and England. It was prime-time.”
“It’s just huge for the town. It is massive.”
Mr Taylor, a former golfer (“my temperament couldn’t handle the game”) said Leishman often came into the shop to say hello when he was home.
“He’s a great ambassador for Warrnambool.”