Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fore Things: Leishman savors win with family

ORLANDO, Fla. – A late eagle propelled Marc Leishman to his second PGA Tour victory Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here are Fore Things to know from the final round at Bay Hill:

1. This was a win for the family. Leishman and his wife, Audrey, have had a difficult few years as she recovered from toxic shock syndrome and acute respiratory distress syndrome that left her with a 5 percent chance of surviving. Prior to Sunday, Leishman’s only Tour title came in 2012. This time, his entire family was on the 18th green to celebrate.

2. A practice-round putt made all the difference. During a practice round Tuesday, Leishman stroked a 50-foot putt that didn’t break nearly as much as he expected. Fast-forward to Sunday, and he faced a nearly identical putt. The long eagle putt found the bottom of the cup, pushing him to 11 under and giving him a one-shot lead as he played the final two holes.

3. Rory McIlroy’s final approach, not his putt, was the problem. With only 153 yards to the flag, he flared his short iron 30 feet right of the flag, a poor shot by his high standards. It wasn’t until he approached the green that he saw that needed that putt for a birdie to tie Leishman. He gave the putt too much juice, racing it 7 feet past, and then missed that one, too, to finish in a tie for fourth.

4. The firm, fast conditions caught up to Kevin Kisner. With a three-shot lead as he played the back nine, Kisner hit what he thought were good shots on 15 and 16 but they didn’t hold because of the firm greens and ended up in tricky positions. He ended up with a back-nine 38 and a one-stroke loss.

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