Marc Leishman has stormed to a stunning, come-from-behind US PGA Tour victory at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, after Lucas Herbert secured his first European Tour title in Dubai on a fabulous Australia Day for the nation’s golfers.
- Marc Leishman won his fifth US PGA title at the famous Torrey Pines course in California
- Lucas Herbert won his maiden European Tour title at the Dubai Desert Classic earlier on the same day
- Herbert won in a playoff to claim a $793,971 pay packet, the biggest of his career
Leishman began the final day at the California course four shots behind overnight leader Jon Rahm, but a sizzling seven-under 65 catapulted him to 15-under-par and a one-shot win from the 25-year-old Spaniard (70).
The win is Leishman’s fifth on the US PGA Tour and he is projected to rise eight spots to world number 20.
“Number five … that sounds pretty good and [especially] on Australia Day,” said Leishman, whose career earnings on the PGA Tour rise to $US28.9 million ($42.4 million).
Remarkably, Leishman hit just three of 14 fairways on Sunday but ranked first for putting in the field, with just 25 strokes on the green.
“I didn’t hit it that well off the tee today but I putted as good as I ever have today and you’re not going to win tour events if you don’t putt well,” he said.
PGA of Australia tweet: First victory for 2020
Leishman was twice previously a runner-up at Torrey Pines and on Sunday seemed determined to rewrite his record at the San Diego course.
The 36-year-old carded seven birdies in his first 13 holes, rocketing to a comfortable lead for the late holes on the back nine.
The cushion allowed Leishman to make a bogey at the par-four 17th before a clutch, 1.8-metre birdie putt he made on the 72nd hole allowed him to put pressure on a barnstorming Rahm.
Rahm had an eagle, three birdies and a bogey to come within a whisker before almost holing an eagle putt that would have forced a play-off.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy will have to wait another week to see if he can go to world number one, with victory eluding him during a tie for third at 12 under.
Tiger Woods was searching for a ninth victory at Torrey Pines and 83rd PGA Tour win, but a 70 left him tied for ninth at nine under.
The next best of the Australians was two-time Torrey Pines champion Jason Day (69) at seven under.
Cameron Percy and Cameron Davis shared 36th at four under, while Aaron Baddeley, Cameron Smith (even par), Rhein Gibson (two over) and Matt Jones (four over) rounded out the Australian contingent.
Herbert wins maiden tour title at Dubai Desert Classic
Leishman’s victory was the second success for Australian golfers on Australia day, after Herbert captured his first professional title, beating Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa at the second hole of a playoff to win the Dubai Desert Classic.
Herbert rolled in a birdie putt from 60cm at the 18th on his third trip up the par-five last hole at Emirates Golf Club, after Bezuidenhout failed to get up and down from the back of the green for his own birdie.
The 24-year-old Herbert dedicated his victory to the people back home battling Australia’s unprecedented wildfire crisis.
Lucas Herbert tweet: Someone wake me up!
“Obviously there’s some pretty awful stuff happening right now in Australia with the fires,” Herbert said.
“Everyone around the world is behind us and hopefully we can keep fighting harder than what I did on the first playoff hole.
“That’s nothing compared to the firefighters and volunteers putting out the fires. Sending all my love back home and hope everyone is well.”
Herbert and Bezuidenhout both shot four-under 68s to come from six shots behind at the start of the final day to finish on nine-under.
Bryson DeChambeau, seeking to retain the title, finished with four straight bogeys to drop out of contention and wound up four shots off the lead after a 76.
Bezuidenhout, who bogeyed the 72nd hole after spinning his approach into the water, had the advantage in the first playoff hole when Herbert pushed his second shot into the water guarding the green.
“Oh my God, that may be the worst shot I’ve ever hit in my life,” Herbert said as he watched the ball drift into the lake.
Herbert chipped his fourth shot from the drop zone to inside 60cm, however, and made an unlikely par. Bezuidenhout left his second shot deliberately short but could not get up and down, taking the playoff back down the 18th.
This time, Herbert’s long second shot was excellent, settling 6 metres from the cup. A two-putt was enough to win an event where he received a two-shot penalty last year for improving his lie in a bunker.
“It’s so weird. It’s awesome. It’s just the best thing ever. It is so good,” Herbert said.
“We’ve got a bottle of scotch at home to celebrate, so I can’t wait to get into that with the boys.”
Herbert’s prize money for winning the title totalled $793,971, almost doubling his career earnings to date.
Earlier, Swedish player Sebastian Soderberg ran between shots — forcing his caddie to do the same, too — to post the fastest round in European Tour history — at just 97 minutes — while shooting 3-over 75.
“I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” Soderberg said, “and I didn’t necessarily think it would hurt my game too much.”