Experienced Aussies lurking behind Lee at Aus PGA

Experienced Aussies lurking behind Lee at Aus PGA

Despite now being in their 40s, Marc Leishman and Adam Scott continue to leave no stone unturned as they seek to improve and potentially author an unlikely victory at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship.

For Scott, it was a short game chat/lesson with Brett Rumford, while for Leishman it was the experienced eyes of career-long coach Denis McDade.

“I actually played well all year. My putter was not great early in the year and Denis came over and worked it out in about 10 minutes,” Leishman said.

“My putter wasn’t aiming where I thought it was. From 10 feet my putter was aiming about two inches left of the hole, which is not conducive to making putts when your good putts are not going where you think they should be.”

The putts were going where they should during a Saturday 67 that took the Victorian into a share of seventh, however that is eight shots back of 54-hole leader Min Woo Lee on 17-under, with Leishman needing some help to finally end his Australian drought.

“You never know what can happen,” Leishman said. “If I can play like I did today and get a hot putter, get off to a good start, you never know what might happen.”

A long-time visitor to Queensland for family holidays, Leishman’s record in the Sunshine State suggests there may be some truth to his joke that the heat helps an ageing body.

Making his 14th PGA start, Leishman owns nine top-25s, including a second behind close friend Cam Smith in 2018.

“When I first started playing in Queensland, I didn’t enjoy putting on Bermuda and all the different grasses, but now I love it,” he said.

“Hopefully I can use my experience tomorrow, make everything and give the boys something to think about.”

Scott will be thinking much the same after an even par third round where his putter failed to convert the multitude of chances the Queenslander’s iron play continued to present.

“It wasn’t really my day. I couldn’t really get it going and unfortunately, I missed a putt on 12 and then bogeyed 14 and 16 and had a rough run coming in there,” Scott said.

Unlike Leishman, Scott has the benefit of previous triumphs in his homeland’s biggest events to draw on. So too Cam Davis, whose top level experience belies his 28 years of age.

Signing for a 68 on Saturday alongside Leishman, Davis is seeking to follow his own come-from-behind example when he broke on to the scene at the 2017 Australian Open.

“Early on in my professional career I was drawing off that week pretty much every tournament I played in. I know I can do it when the pressure’s on,” Davis said.

“I’m trying to get a more recent memory of lifting a trophy over here.”

Although they will have their work cut out for them, the experienced trio will also have next week’s ISPS HANDA Australian Open. That event certainly now the focus for Cam Smith.

Spending significant time on the practice facilities Saturday, Smith will also take solace from wise words from Leishman.

“We’ve all missed cuts before and that is very disappointing when you do it, particularly in an event that you love so much and have had success in the past,” he added.

“But I think in the long run it’ll be good for him, just to know that it can happen.

“I know he’ll knuckle down and he’ll be better for it next week.”