Leishman rallies, wins with 62
The 28-year-old Australian began the day six strokes behind the leaders, but made eight birdies and no bogeys, then sat in the clubhouse for over two hours and watched. He finished at 14-under 266.
Hoffman was 16 under heading to the 17th hole, but pushed his tee shot right and into the water. He made a double bogey, and bogeyed the 18th after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
Hoffman closed with a 66 to tie for second with Masters champion Bubba Watson (65)
Leishman became the fifth player in seven years to break through with their first tour win at River Highlands, joining Fredrik Jacobson last year, Watson in 2010, Hunter Mahan in 2007 and J.J. Henry in 2006.
Leishman’s 62 was the lowest score in a final round by a champion on tour this season.
“I didn’t think it was going to be enough,” he said. “Golf is a funny game, a really funny game.”
Hoffman seemed to be in command standing on the 17th tee, and still had a chance to win on 18.
He put his tee shot onto a hill to the right and he put his second shot into the bunker. He ran that shot long and missed a 17-foot par putt.
“When it’s said and done, obviously a bad finish and a bad taste in my mouth, but you learn from it,” he said. “Any time you put yourself in contention, you learn from that.”
Leishman’s win gave him just his second top-10 finish this season. He didn’t play in Memphis or at the U.S. Open and said he came back after two weeks off refreshed.
“I practiced I think two times in the three weeks,” he said. “It’s been close for a while actually. I just get a little bit streaky with the putter, and I haven’t been lately.”
Rory Sabbatini finished six shots behind the leader, but took home a gold Rolex after making the first hole-in-one of his tour career. His shot on the 161-foot 16th hole hit and spun left into the hole.
Hunter Mahan shot a career-low 61 and tied for 11th after he came within a stroke of missing the 54-hole cut.
Mahan, whose first tour win came here in 2007, needed a 6-foot birdie on 18 Saturday to make the 54-hole cut.
“At that point, you’re kind of like, God, do I want to even make this?” he said. “I’m glad I did.”
Last updated: 8:43 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012