Sun, 23 Feb 2020

Leishman starts hot, holds off Rahm to win Farmers Insurance Open

Field Level Media
27 Jan 2020, 10:40 GMT+10

A day after watching Jon Rahm ride a 65 to the top of the leaderboard, Australia's Marc Leishman on Sunday decided to give it a try himself, and walked away with the Farmers Insurance Open championship in La Jolla, Calif.

Leishman birdied five of his first eight holes at Torrey Pines' South Course on his way to the low round of the day with his 7-under par that put him in the clubhouse at 15-under 273 for the tournament. Leishman then watched as Rahm mounted a furious comeback, but the Spaniard ultimately fell one stroke short.

The difference in the two rounds could be seen in the course's first five holes. Leishman birdied Nos. 1, 2 and 4 while Rahm bogeyed 1 and 5 and double-bogeyed No. 3 -- a difference of seven strokes. Leishman would also birdie Nos. 6 and 8, then post two more at 11 and 13 before finishing his day bogey-birdie.

Rahm got a stroke back at No. 6 to make the turn at 3 over, then hit the gas with six holes to go. Sitting 227 yards out after his tee shot on the par-5 13th, Rahm stuck his approach within 11 feet of the pin before sinking his eagle putt. That started a run that would see him go 5 under over the final six holes. But he went to 18 knowing he needed eagle to force a playoff, but couldn't get his eagle putt to drop.

"I guess you just gotta be mentally strong," Leishman told Golf Channel after his round when asked why his putter was working while so many other players in the field struggled with theirs. "... Pressure does funny things. A little bit of pressure and things can happen, and they did. The good thing about was I missed in the right spot (with his driver) and I was able to still score."

Rahm finished the day 2 under, leaving him at 14 under for the tournament. Brandt Snedeker (68) and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (69) finished tied for third at 12 under. Tom Hoge shot a 68 to finish alone in fifth at 11 under.

Tiger Woods shot a 2-under 70, finishing in a tie for ninth at 9-under 279.

As he walked off the course, Woods was told by his caddie of the death of basketball great Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. -- about 150 miles north of La Jolla -- earlier in the day.

"It's a shocker to everyone," Woods told CBS after learning of Woods' death. "Unbelievably sad. One of the more tragic days. ... He burned so competitively hot. And the desire to win. He brought it each and every night, on both ends of the floor. Not too many guys can say that throughout NBA history."

It was Leishman's fifth career Tour victory and his first since the CIMB Classic in October 2018 in Kuala Lumpur. The win also came on Australia Day in his native country.

--Field Level Media

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