12 Dec 2021 | Professional golf |

Day, Leishman extend their lead at QBE Shootout

by PGA of Australia

Jason Day and Marc Leishman.

By Tony Webeck

A third Marc Leishman hole-out for eagle in two days has helped the Aussie team of Leishman and Jason Day open up a three-stroke lead at the QBE Shootout in Florida.

A day after coming within one shot of setting a new 18-hole record for the lowest scramble round in the event’s history, Leishman and Day combined well again in the modified foursomes format, shooting eight-under 64 and a three-shot advantage heading into the final fourball round.

It’s a format renowned for low numbers so the potential 2022 Presidents Cup combination know they need to stay aggressive to close out the year in style.

“We’re going to have to shoot a really good round to win,” said Leishman.

“The guys went crazy low today and tomorrow’s fourball so we’re going to have to go a lot lower than we did today.

“Just keep doing what we’re doing, give ourselves chances. Hopefully we can play good and see where we end up.”

Although the highlight was Leishman’s hole-out eagle at the par-4 seventh, the only all-Aussie team in the field punctuated their Saturday round with a birdie putt from outside 20 feet at the final hole, Day dropping it in on the right side on its final roll to add to their advantage.

“I didn’t feel like I had a putt of over 10 feet until I got on the back side there somewhere so it was really hard to get any sort of momentum,” said Day, who was responsible for five of the six birdie putts on day two.

“The greens feel like they’re a little bit furrier than yesterday. The grain kind of takes over when it gets a little bit longer so it was nice to be able to roll that one in.

“It was nice to be able to contribute today but we’ve got one more day to go so got to stay focussed.”

The Aussie trio of Stephanie Kyriacou, Karis Davidson and Sarah Jane Smith are on course to secure full playing rights on the LPGA Tour in 2022 heading into the eighth and final round of the LPGA Q-Series.

Frenchwoman Pauline Roussin-Bouchard is five strokes clear at the top of the leaderboard but all players who finish inside the top 45 will receive an LPGA Tour card.

The cut-off currently stands at four-under par, Kyriacou 10-under through seven rounds and tied for 18th following a round of even par 72 in Alabama on Saturday.

Third this year on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit, Kyriacou had three birdies between the seventh and 11th holes but dropped shots at 12, 13 and 16 to end the day square with the card.

Davidson is just one stroke behind Kyriacou in a share of 22nd, firing five birdies in her round of two-under 70 while Smith (70) is tied for 27th at eight-under par, four strokes inside the top 45 cut-off.

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