WARRNAMBOOL’S Marc Leishman is under pressure to make the half-way cut in the first of the USPGA Tour’s lucrative play-offs.
Leishman posted a four-over 75 in yesterday’s opening round at The Barclays in New Jersey.
He was 10 shots behind American Bo Van Pelt, who carded an impressive six-under 65.
Fellow Aussie Adam Scott advised countryman John Senden to stop searching and just let his talent take over, advice he also took on himself to ensure both men sit reasonably poised after the opening round.
Senden and Steven Bowditch lead the Australian charge after the first round, shooting three-under rounds of 68 to be tied 13th just three shots off the lead.
And World No. 2 Scott is just one shot further back after a 69 at Ridgewood Country Club leaving him within striking distance as he defends his Barclays title.
Eight players share second in a logjam at five-under 66 including Americans Hunter Mahan, Cameron Tringale, Charles Howell III, Ben Martin, Brendon Todd and Jim Furyk plus Zimbabwe’s Brendon De Jonge and England’s Paul Casey.
Senden, who won in March and was eighth at the Masters before a couple of nice finishes in Texas, has cooled.
In his last six starts since June he has missed three cuts and has a best finish of 26th, but the Queenslander finished with a flourish on Thursday thanks to four consecutive birdies to close the round.
He then revealed Scott had advised him at the recent PGA Championship to relax more and stop trying to find something extra from when he was hot earlier in the year.
“Scotty said when you are playing well and then you have a little dip, don’t try to search for something you think is missing, just deal with it, because it is all still in there,” Senden said.
“You have to make a conscious decision to just enjoy a round or be happy with yourself and just play and then it comes back.”
It is precisely the same attitude Scott has employed this week after two tournaments of wayward ball striking.
While they are already safe into the second play-off event next week it was a bit of a struggle for Jason Day (+1), Matt Jones (+1) and Leishman in the opening round, leaving them with work to do to make the cut.
The four Australians under pressure to perform who at least need to make the weekend are already up against it.
Robert Allenby (+1), Geoff Ogilvy (+2), Stuart Appleby (+2) and Aaron Baddeley (+3) all shot over par and need improvement to keep their seasons alive.