Leishman claims stylish CIMB Classic win

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Marc Leishman secured a stunning victory at the CIMB Classic to become the first Australian and non-American to win the US$7 million tournament on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Leishman posted a final round seven-under-par 65 to claim his fourth PGA TOUR title and broke the stranglehold of the Americans, who have triumphed in the last eight editions.

With a winning total of 26-under-par 262, the Australian dominated the event with a five-shot victory over Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (66), Chesson Hadley (66) and first round leader Bronson Burgoon (68). His winning score also equaled the low four-day total set by Justin Thomas in 2015.

There was heartbreak for joint overnight leader Shubhankar Sharma, who was aiming to become only the second Indian to win on the PGA TOUR. He settled for tied-10th place following a 72 in his debut at the event

Leishman was hot at the get-go, making four straight birdies on the second hole before adding further birdies on holes nine and 10. He dropped a shot on 13 but his lead was never threatened as he marked his card with further birdies on 16 and 18.

With the victory, Leishman earned a cool prize purse of US$1.26 million.

Thomas, searching for a third CIMB Classic victory, made a final day charge with a 64 but had to settle for a share of fifth place with Major winner Louis Oosthuizen, Ancer Abraham, Charles Howell III and Gary Woodland.

Did you know?

  • Leishman is the first Australian and non-American to win the CIMB Classic in nine editions.
  • He betters his fifth place finish at the CIMB Classic last year. He wins the event in his seventh appearance in the tournament.
  • He was consistent the entire week, dropping only four bogeys while shooting 28 birdies and one eagle.
  • He totaled 25 putts today, his second lowest of the week. He needed only 24 putts in the second round. He only made one three-putt the entire week.
  • This is Leishman’s fourth PGA Tour title since winning the 2012 Travelers Championship, 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational and BMW Championship.
  • His 26-under-par 262 is the second lowest 72-hole total of his career. His lowest total 261 came in his victory at the 2017 BMW Championship.
  • He also receives invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, a winners-only event in January, along with two major championships (Masters Tournament and PGA Championship) and THE PLAYERS Championship.
  • Sharma shot his highest score of the week with a final round 72.
  • He shot two bogeys and one birdie in six holes before holing four straight birdies from the seventh hole. His momentum stopped when he hit his tee shot into the water on the par-three 11th hole which resulted in a bogey.
  • He extends his lead on the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings. He currently has a lead of US$134,094 over Korea’s Sanghyun Park.

Player interviews:

Marc Leishman (Aus) – Final Round 65 (-7), Total 262 (-26)

I feel unbelievable right now. On Tuesday I got here and I thought I was going to have to call Callaway and get them to leave some more golf balls in my locker, I was hitting my driver a bit sideways. Sorted that out and this is the result. I want to thank Callaway, I want to thank all my other sponsors for giving me what I need and the tools certainly worked this week.

The golf course was amazing. Yesterday started off great and struggled on the back nine, but I think that helped me today. I knew that even though I got off to a good start, I still needed to grind because there’s some tough holes out there. Managed to hit some good shots and this is the result. It’s great to get back in the winner’s circle, excited to be back in Malaysia and leaving with this.

It was a very tough time that we went through about three and a half years ago, but certainly made us stronger as people, made us appreciate just the everyday things, appreciate our kids more, appreciate friends, family, everything.

I won’t say it made golf less important, but it made me realize that golf’s not life or death.

We’ve been through that and that’s not fun. Yes, I want to win trophies and lucky enough today to be leaving with one, which my kids will be very happy about, by the way, but if I wasn’t to walk away the winner today, that’s all right, too. As long as I give it my best shot, that’s what it’s all about.

Shubhankar’s a great lad. I am sure he learned a lot from these past two days and that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes you learn more from the tournaments that you don’t win. I think this is one of the wins where I did learn a lot and that’s not always the case. I’m sure he’ll learn and he’s going to go on to big things.

Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) – Final Round 72 (E), Total 269 (-19)

My start was not as good, but I came back really strong. I made four birdies in a row and I was really happy with the way I was playing and I knew I had a chance. We had to wait, there was some wait on the 11th hole and I was in between clubs so I was trying to hit a soft rescue and that was probably one of the worst swings of the day and that ended up in the water. After that it was just a trend of hitting bad shots. Even the next hole after that I hit it in the bunker, I had a relatively easy shot and I duffed it and couldn’t make up and down. Even on the next hole I was in the fairway, hit a good second shot to the left. So that 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way and I probably could have made more birdies after that.

Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA TOUR, so that’s a good way of looking at it. Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA TOUR and I’ve given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now. The next two weeks are also big events, so anything is possible in this game. So I’ll just try and keep at it and let’s see what the next two weeks brings.

Scores after round 4 of the CIMB Classic being played at the par 72, 7005 Yards TPC Kuala Lumpur course (am – denotes amateur):

262 – Marc Leishman (AUS) 68-62-67-65.

267 – Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 66-68-67-66, Chesson Hadley (USA) 67-68-66-66, Bronson Burgoon (USA) 63-69-67-68.

268 – Justin Thomas (USA) 66-69-69-64, Abraham Ancer (MEX) 67-68-68-65, Charles Howell III (USA) 69-67-65-67, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 66-68-65-69, Gary Woodland (USA) 69-61-67-71.

269 – Kevin Chappell (USA) 66-67-71-65, Siwoo Kim (KOR) 67-71-66-65, Shubhankar Sharma (IND) 67-64-66-72.

270 – Kyle Stanley (USA) 72-68-66-64, Byeonghun An (KOR) 66-70-68-66, Paul Casey (ENG) 66-65-71-68, J.B. Holmes (USA) 67-67-67-69, Stewart Cink (USA) 68-70-63-69, Austin Cook (USA) 64-68-68-70.

271 – Keegan Bradley (USA) 70-67-68-66, Kevin Na (USA) 68-67-67-69, Nick Watney (USA) 66-67-68-70.

272 – Keith Mitchell (USA) 70-65-71-66, John Catlin (USA) 73-65-67-67, Cameron Smith (AUS) 69-69-66-68.

273 – Xander Schauffele (USA) 69-71-65-68.

274 – Joel Dahmen (USA) 66-68-69-71.

275 – Kevin Tway (USA) 70-67-71-67, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 69-70-71-65, Scott Piercy (USA) 65-67-71-72.

276 – C.T. Pan (TPE) 65-73-70-68, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 70-69-71-66, Beau Hossler (USA) 72-65-66-73.

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