Golf Australia

Leish keeps lid firmly on

Marc Leishman USGA photo
Marc Leishman on Wednesday at the 2019 US Open. (Photo courtesy USGA/Darren Carroll)

Precious little ever appears to ruffle Marc Leishman’s feathers.

Since bursting on to the major championship scene as a contender at the 2013 Masters, the laconic Aussie has racked up five top-10 finishes in the “big four”.

But while all appears calm above the Leishman water line – including even during his playoff loss in the 2015 Open Championship at St Andrews – there’s often plenty happening below the surface.

So when the candid Leishman fielded questions about his growing global recognition as a major contender, his answer was eye-opening despite his clearly evident good practice form at Pebble Beach before this week’s US Open.

“I’m not setting my expectations too high – I’ve done that before and I know where that leads,” Leishman said.

“I’m just doing what I can do, play some good golf and see how it goes.

“I’ve learnt that early in the week, the first round in particular, that if you go in thinking you can win the tournament, that never ends well for me.

“I just need to think about the basics … hitting fairways, hitting greens and trying to give yourself birdie chances, which around here is good because the greens aren’t too big and you might actually make a few of them.”

Leishman understands others’ expectations of him in the majors have grown in recent years.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in contention in one, but I’m definitely feeling more comfortable in them,” he said.

“But my game is in a good spot, the course is great and sets up reasonably well for me, which isn’t always true at US Opens.

“So I’m happy with this set-up and the short game and iron play are going to be really important around here and they’re two of my strengths.

“But as I said, it’s just one shot at a time for me this week.”

Leishman, like most of his countrymen, is hoping for a continuation of this week’s good Californian weather to play even further to his strengths with accuracy at a premium off the tee and on approach shots.

“There’s plenty of trouble out there. The fairways are generous, but still you have to hit good shots to finish where you need to be and the penalties are huge if you miss.

“But I like the rough … you should be penalised for missing fairways. The greens will hopefully firm up and that sets up well for me, too. The firmer the better, I reckon.”

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