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This time, Leishman slams the door shut

By Will GraySeptember 18, 2017, 12:22 am

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – With the tournament reaching its final stage, the leaderboards surrounding each green reflected a familiar scenario. Marc Leishman had amassed a two-shot lead after more than 60 holes of golf, and the trophy was within reach.

It’s the same script that played out two weeks ago at TPC Boston, where Leishman fumbled away his lead down the stretch by shooting a back-nine 40. But faced with an opportunity for redemption and with Justin Rose quickly making up ground, the Aussie didn’t blink and instead walked away with a five-shot, wire-to-wire victory at the BMW Championship.

It’s a win that vaults Leishman to fourth in the FedExCup standings, and up to 13th in the newest world rankings. It’s also another stark reminder that his time as one of the more underrated players on the PGA Tour may quickly be coming to an end.

“Backing up that back nine last week at the Dell (Technologies Championship), when the pressure got put on by Rosie, I reacted with birdies,” Leishman said. “Just tried to keep doing my own thing and give myself chances, and managed to roll a couple in there at the end which was nice walking up the last there with a bit of a buffer.”

Leishman started the day with a five-shot lead, one that he revealed after the fact was large enough that he should win – but not large enough to put him out of reach. After Rose birdied No. 14, Leishman's advantage was trimmed to the same two-shot edge he was unable to maintain two weeks ago when Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth raced past him.

This time around, he answered the call with a birdie on No. 15 – and another on the next hole to remove any doubt about the outcome.


BMW Championship: Articles, video and photos


It’s the second win this year for the 33-year-old, who also captured the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He heads into the Tour Championship as perhaps the hottest player on Tour, and he’ll be a key cog for the International Team at the Presidents Cup later this month.

While it’s a somewhat surprising ascent for a player who won just one event in his first eight seasons on Tour, his peers have long realized Leishman’s potential.

“I think he’s a great player, especially I grew up playing amateur golf against him,” said Jason Day. “I don’t think he may have projected himself standing where he is today when we were sitting on a tee back when I was 16 and he was 18 or so. He’s done a tremendous job, obviously, getting to where he is. I think there’s still a ton left in the tank for him.”

To see Leishman sandwiched between two trophies on the 18th green and surrounded by his three children, including daughter Eva born this summer, is a far cry from the depths of 2015 when his wife, Audrey, nearly died from complications tied to sepsis.

But with his wife once again healthy and a new arrival to celebrate, Leishman has found harmony both on and off the course this year – even if it has caused little change to his largely unflappable demeanor.

“He’s a very humble guy, and so I think sometimes people maybe underestimate his drive. But he’s always had that drive,” Audrey said. “He’s always given it 110 percent, but he just has been content to lie low and he doesn’t really feel the need to have all the media stuff. So I think because of that, him flying under the radar, people sort of assume that.”

Leishman is candid about the fact that, while many of his peers set ambitious goals and strive to be the best player in the world, that has never been his aim. He enjoys having a work-life balance, and his off weeks are spent with his growing family and usually far away from the practice range.

“I feel like, with the life I live, that’s probably very hard for me to do that,” he said. “I feel like you have to dedicate your whole life – not your whole life, but you have to work very, very hard. I’m happy doing what I’m doing now with the life I’ve got and the way I’m playing and all that, to be happy with where I am.”

Armed with a wire-to-wire victory against an elite field, Leishman now has plenty to be happy with heading into the season’s final event. His goals may be modest and his tone understated, but make no mistake about it: Leishman deserves every inch of real estate he now occupies among the game’s elite.

Golf does not often afford mulligans, especially at the highest level. But granted another chance to close out a lead coming down the stretch, Leishman this time around left no room for doubt.

“It’s just nice to put four good rounds on the board and in a really big event,” he said. “Backing up what happened last week was probably the most satisfying thing for me.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm