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Again in Masters contention, can Marc Leishman apply lessons from near-misses?

Marc Leishman
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – At Augusta National you’re only as good as the lessons you’ve learned, and Marc Leishman has learned plenty of lessons at the year’s first major.

The Australian was in a familiar position Friday when he completed his round at the Masters, tied for second place and just two shots off the early lead held by Justin Rose. It was the same position he was in through two rounds in 2013 and again in 2018. When he was asked what he learned from those trips into contention he was quick with an answer.

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“I learned that the course can change overnight either way, from hard to soft, soft to hard,” said Leishman, whose second-round 67 left him at 5 under par. “I remember in 2018 I was either leading or one back (he was two back of eventual winner Patrick Reed) going into Saturday, and I didn't adjust to the speed of the greens, and I barely made a birdie all day. Hit it as good as I probably ever hit it around here and couldn't make a putt.”

In ’18, Leishman struggled on the greens on Day 3 (he needed 33 putts) and finished with rounds of 73-70 on his way to a ninth-place finish. He was also in the hunt in 2014 when he opened with a 70 only to balloon to a second-round 79.

“I think in 2014 I got off to a really good start on Friday and ended up missing the cut,” he said. “It's finding that mix of aggressive but not reckless.”