Tragedy impacts Leishman

MARC Leishman begins the US PGA Tour’s season-ending play-off series without regular caddie Matt Kelly on his bag following the tragic surfing death of Peter Luke.

A good mate of fellow former Warrnambool resident Luke, 27, who died after being hit by a huge wave while surfing on a remote Indonesian beach last week, Kelly has returned home briefly.

“It’s a sad tragedy and obviously my thoughts are with Peter’s family in this difficult time,” Leishman said.

“It was important his close friends, including Matty, could be there to pay their respects.”

Leishman will have stand-in caddie Sam Pinfold carrying his bag for the Barclays Championship in New Jersey starting tonight (AEST), the first of four events in the FedEx Cup play-off series that culminates at the 30-man Tour Championship.

The 30-year-old Leishman goes into the series ranked 27th in the 125-man field over the course of the season-long points race, but is the eighth highest of the players without a win on their resume this year.

He has shown tremendous consistency in 2014, finishing second, twice third and twice fifth, including the British Open, and has established himself among the world’s top 50 golfers.

Leishman will play alongside fellow Aussie John Senden and Canadian Graham DeLaet in tonight’s opening right. They are scheduled to tee off at 10.15pm AEST.

Another Aussie Jason Day has labelled the FedEx Cup title golf’s grand final and has set his sights on being the first Australian to win the season-long points race.

Despite winning twice in the last 10 months, injury and illness have conspired against world No. 9 Day, leaving his preparations for the four majors underdone. AAP

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