Marc Leishman – file photo

Australia’s Marc Leishman produced eight birdies in the first 14 holes of his final round of the Fortinet Championship in Napa in California and although he was unable to secure the extra birdie or two he needed to contend for the title over the closing holes at the Silverado Golf Club, his round of 65 would see him finish in a share of 4th place and four shots from the winner, Max Homa.

Leishman began the final day two hours ahead of the final group and with an outward nine of 32 he was challenging for the lead in the opening event of the new PGA Tour season. After further birdies at the 10th, 11th and 14th holes, the possibility of a huge come from behind victory, as he had done previously on the PGA Tour, was becoming a possibility.

The momentum slowed however and after missing makeable chances at the 16th and 17th his chance of victory was gone although it was an impressive day all the same.

Leishman had mixed emotions at the completion of his round. “A little disappointed with the last three holes, a few birdie opportunities there, could have really put some pressure on,” said the Victorian. “Yeah, definitely happy with the week and good start to the season.”

With so long to wait before the final few groups finished, it gave Leishman the chance to reflect on the year to date.

“Wherever I finish, to play golf like I have the last two days was really pleasing. Hasn’t been the greatest year I would say. There’s been patches of good stuff, third at the Travelers and top-5 at the Masters, I believe, but other than that it’s been pretty lame. So good to put some good scores together, get a sniff again. It’s nice to get in the hunt, get the juices flowing. I love that, that’s what we do, that’s why we do it.”

Leishman will play three more PGA Tour events before ending his 2021 campaign. Two of those events are in Las Vegas and one in Houston.

Aaron Baddeley played this event on invite as he now has very limited status on the PGA Tour and finished 36th while Cameron Percy was 64th.

The PGA Tour will now head to the Sanderson Farms Championship in two weeks’ time, the break necessary because of this coming week’s Ryder Cup.