MARC Leishman’s best performance at a British Open is fuelling confidence he can win one of golf’s famed majors.
The Warrnambool pro-fessional shot a course record-equalling round of seven-under 65 in the final round of the British Open early yesterday to finish in a tie for fifth at Royal Liverpool.
His stunning round of eight birdies and a bogey lifted him to 12-under for the tournament, five shots behind winner Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland.
It was Leishman’s second top-five result at one of golf’s four majors, having finished in a tie for fourth at last year’s US Masters behind countryman Adam Scott. He also finished tied for 12th at the US PGA last year.
“Definitely (I can visualise winning a major),” Leishman said.
“I love the tougher golf courses and the majors are generally played on tough golf courses.
“I came close at the Masters a couple of years ago. (I) played with Scotty, who won, and it was great to see exactly what you have to do.
“I was too far back at the start of the day today but to at least have a run at it ... it does give me confidence going forward in the majors.”
Leishman should be ideally suited to the British Open after honing his game in Warrnambool’s windy conditions. But his tie for fifth was his best result at the championship from three previous attempts, having missed the cut in 2013 and 2012. His best result was a tie for 60th in 2010.
“I’m really happy,” Leishman said. “I love links golf but for some reason this is a tournament I have not done well at in the past.”
The 30-year-old, enjoying his most consistent year as a professional, gets another chance in a major at the US PGA in three weeks.
He said the key to his success was his mindset.
“I’m maturing as a golfer and mentally I’m a lot better than I was,” Leishman said.
“Probably this is one of the best weeks mentally I’ve had. I just didn’t let anything bother me.”
Leishman’s impressive form this year, including five top-10 finishes, has made 2014 his most lucrative. His $US359,639 cheque took his earnings to more than $US1.976 million, eclipsing his previous best of $1.933 million in 2012 when he broke through for his maiden victory on the US PGA Tour.
Leishman, who started the British Open with rounds of 69, 72 and 70, began the final round 11 shots behind McIlroy.
But three consecutive birdies from the fourth to sixth holes started his climb up the leaderboard. He birdied the eighth but gave the shot back at the ninth with his only bogey of the round. He then finished with four birdies on the back nine, including three in the final four holes, narrowly missing two eagles.
He was one of four players to equal the course record with 65s in the final round.