Marc Leishman- file photo
Former winner, Marc Leishman, is just three from the lead at the halfway mark of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, four birdies in his first seven holes of round two setting up a round of 69 and a share of 7th place in the event he won three years ago.
Leishman trails the leaders Tyrrell Hatton of England and Korea’s Sung Kang by three with New Zealander Danny Lee one off the lead.
Leishman, who was made a tournament host for the event, was delighted with his score and the honour bestowed on him to be the player host for what is essentially Arnold Palmer’s event.
“Yeah, really happy,” said the Victorian. It was tough out there again. Got off to a really good start the first 8 holes and then kind of hung on after that. So yeah, it’s tough. It’s good. I’m really enjoying it. It’s nice playing when par’s a good score.
While he was happy with his play, the honour of hosting the event was an even greater thrill.
“It’s a huge honour. To even be thought of for a role like that is pretty special. Then to get, for them to choose me to do that, it’s a massive honour.
“Of all the things you do, you think of, if you hadn’t had a great day, do you go sign or not go sign? He would have done it, so you do it. And that’s just, little things like that, that kind of, I guess, that’s why you pick certain role models and he was certainly one.
The ever present Sungjae Im, who last week won his first PGA Tour title, is tied for 4th and just two from the lead, a position he shares with Harris English.
Matt Jones was the only other Australian to make the weekend, the current Australian Open champion in 24th place and six shots from the lead.
The surprise of the week amongst the Australians was the performance of Adam Scott who was unable to recover from his opening round of 77 yesterday and finished two shots outside the cutline.
Jason Day was forced to withdraw from his second round after only four holes citing a back injury. It was the second straight year Day, a former winner of this event, has withdrawn from the event.