MARC Leishman says he is ready to launch an assault on the world’s biggest tournament, the US Masters, despite yesterday’s practice round being cancelled because of storms.
The Warrnambool professional said he was better prepared than many leading players after last week playing two practice rounds at the famed Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia while his rivals were playing in the Houston Open.
“I was there last Monday and Tuesday which was good, it means today doesn’t really hurt me at all,” Leishman said.
“A lot of the guys only got in last night and today was their chance to practice. I’m not worried at all, after playing twice last week, I feel like I’m ready.”
The 30-year-old is relishing a return to the course where he played alongside Queenslander Adam Scott in the final round last year as he notched a career-best tied fourth place in one of golf’s four major tournaments.
“It’s awesome to come back, a lot of good memories from last year. It’s just a great place. The crowds are really good, the course is awesome, the flowers everywhere. It’s as relaxing as a major can be.”
He said his aim was to contend again when the tournament starts tomorrow night Australian time.
“There’s definitely more expectations than last year,” he said.
“But I don’t think people would be surprised if I did what I did last year. I think a lot of people were surprised what I did last year. But I don’t think people are expecting me to do it again. I feel really good where my game is at.”
Leishman said having two weeks without playing a tournament had been beneficial.
“I played quite a lot of golf last week preparing which was really good to be able to do that, just to know where your bad shots are going. I always play better fresh.”
Leishman said the key to playing well at Augusta National was experience.
“The more you play it, the more you learn and the easier it gets.
“You don’t know how hard it is until you hit it into some of the bad spots and have to play a shot from there. The more you play it, the more bad spots you find and the more you learn. You just hope you hit it into the bad spots in practice and not in the tournament.”
Playing alongside Scott in the dramatic final round last year also helped boost his education.
Leishman said Scott’s historic first win by an Australian at the Masters last year had been positive for his countrymen.
“There is definitely less pressure,” Leishman said.
“I haven’t had to answer that question once, ‘when is an Australian going to win the Masters?’. It’s nice to not have to talk about it. It’s saved a lot of time, you might have 30 interviews a day and that was always asked.
“It looked like there was a jinx or hoodoo but now the pressure is off and we know we can do it. The Aussies have won four out of the last six or eight events on tour so it’s good.”
Leishman will play another practice round followed by the par-three competition today.