26 Aug 2021 | Professional golf |

Leishman's FedEx Cup focus: Win or go home

by PGA of Australia

Marc Leishman teeing off during the Northern Trust.

By Tony Webeck

He has nominated close mate Cam Smith as the man to beat but Marc Leishman has set himself the task of winning a second BMW Championship to keep his FedEx Cup hopes alive.

Champion at Conway Farms Golf Club in 2017, Leishman arrives at Caves Valley Golf Club in Maryland 35th in the FedEx Cup standings and in need of a strong result to move into the top 30 and qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.

A top 10 might be sufficient but as he searches for an individual title to go with the Zurich Classic he and Smith won in April and buoyed by a good ball-striking week at Liberty National last week, Leishman has eyes only on the top prize.

“I know I have to play good this week to get in. Probably going to take a top 10, but you don’t come to a tournament trying to get a top 10, you come here trying to leave with a BMW Championship trophy,” said Leishman.

“I’ve left with it before, I know how it feels, and I’d love to do that again.

“I come here playing to win. My game is in decent shape. I just need to make a few putts, and hopefully I can give myself that chance.”

When Leishman was victorious four years ago it propelled him to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings entering the Tour Championship, ultimately finishing sixth and collecting an $US800,000 bonus cheque.

Following his playoff loss on Monday Smith sits third in the 2021 standings and with the $15 million well within reach, drawn to play with No.1 Tony Finau and No.2 Jon Rahm in the opening round.

Leishman is paired with fellow Australian Cam Davis and Korean KH Lee and knows that it will take an improved performance with the putter on the undulating Caves Valley greens to be in contention on Sunday.

“I actually played really well at Northern Trust, I just struggled reading the greens,” said the 37-year-old.

“When you’re not committed, it’s hard to make them. I had some of my best ball-striking I’ve had all year and finished I think close to 50th. It was a pretty sad week on the greens.

“The greens are going to be the challenge (this week). They’re very undulating; the whole course is quite hilly.

“But the greens in particular, you’re going to have to be hitting the fairways and then your iron game is going to have to be really good to get on the right levels to give yourself makeable birdie putts or somewhat easy two-putts.

“If you’re on the wrong level, you’re going to have some issues.”

A second BMW Championship would put Leishman back in the mix to be the FedEx Cup champion and unlike Smith who would shout himself some fishing gear, the Warrnambool native has slightly bigger plans for golf’s biggest pay day.

“$15 million is a lot of money. Maybe a new brewery,” said the man behind Leishman Lager.

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