Save for a maiden major title it is the one glaring omission from the Marc Leishman resume and the four-time PGA Tour winner wants it rectified at the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast in December.
A bit bleary-eyed from celebrating his win in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia on Sunday, Leishman spoke to Australian media first thing Monday morning and reiterated his desire to claim one of this country’s most prominent titles.
The 34-year-old will spearhead Australia’s charge at the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf alongside Cameron Smith at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne and then head to RACV Royal Pines Resort determined to add his own name to the impressive roll call of winners of the Joe Kirkwood Cup.
The reigning Greg Norman Medal winner was tied for fourth last year but has not won in Australia since claiming the 2008 Victorian PGA Championship, a decade-long drought he is desperate to break.
“To win in your home country is a lot of fun. I’ve only done it in second-tier events,” Leishman said in the wake of his five-shot win at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
“That’s certainly really important to me, to try and tick that off the list. I really want to play well and do that, hopefully this year.
“I see this win got 1,000 fans free tickets to the PGA so hopefully I can make those thousand people very happy by winning.”
There will be 1,000 fans on the Gold Coast waiting to shout Leishman a beer given that his win earnt them all free tickets to the Australian PGA Championship but the Victorian would love nothing more than to toast victory with World Cup teammate and defending champion Cameron Smith.
Leishman and Smith celebrated the Victorian’s win on Sunday in typically Australian style – beers and pizza in the pool bar at the tournament hotel – and have developed a tradition of celebrating each other’s victories.
When Smith triumphed in a playoff to claim the Australian PGA crown at Royal Pines last December Leishman was there to help mark the occasion and hopes Smith will join him again on the Sunday evening for another victory celebration.
“Last year I was there when Cam won and celebrated with him so it was great having him there just off the 18th green,” said Leishman after Smith waited at the 72nd hole to watch his countryman complete his win on Sunday.
“We had dinner together almost every night last week and just becoming better and better friends.
“It was nice to have someone to celebrate with. It’s an individual sport so it’s good to have that.”
Worrying early in the week that he may not have enough balls to cope with a wayward driver at the picturesque TPC Kuala Lumpur layout, Leishman made an adjustment to his hand position at address for an instant fix.
He also opted to put four wedges in play for the first time and go without a 3-wood in his setup, a formula he and coach Denis McDade intend to stick with moving forward.
The win also secured a return to the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January but Leishman is adamant success in Malaysia won’t dull his desire to collect even more trophies to share with his three children, Oliver, Harvey and Eva.
“It’s fun playing well. Holding up those trophies and creating memories like that is a lot of fun,” said Leishman, who will miss the Emirates Australian Open this year due to his commitment to never be away from his kids for more than two weeks at a time.
“It’s pretty easy to keep the motivation, especially for me in Australia because I haven’t won one of the big ones in Australia.
“I think you tend to learn more when you don’t win but this one I think I learnt some things about my game and myself that I can put to good use in the coming months.”