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Leishman determined to win on home soil

November 28, 2018

Marc Leishman is determined to make this year’s Australian PGA Championship a memorable one with the home favourite targeting a win this week on the Gold Coast.

Leishman determined to win on home soil, © Getty Images
Marc Leishman

- Getty Images

“I want to try and win one of those or win this event. I haven't managed to win one of the three big Australian events yet, so that's very high on the list, probably a missing part of my resume. I’m happy to be here and hoping I can have a big week."

“Every tournament I go to I want to obviously do as well as I can, try and win the event. That's no different whether I'm sort of an underdog or on the posters all around town."

The World Number 21 returns to RACV Royal Pines Resort with one thing on his mind; winning the coveted Kirkwood Cup - the oldest trophy in Australian Professional Golf – and ticketing off one of his career goals along the way.

The 35 year old tees it up having finished tied second as half of Team Australia at the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf last week, and with three top-15 finishes to his name at this event, he is out to add another win to his belt following his victory last month in Malaysia on the PGA Tour.

“As far as pressure, I don't know if I feel pressure to win, but I'll definitely say I’m a lot more determined to do the right things and try and give myself the best chance to contend when I'm at home."

“The last few years it's been more of, you know, go through the correct process that I do on Tour. Not that I didn't do it those first few years, but really make sure I'm doing the right things because I don't want to get another five years down the track and still be getting asked the questions as well."

“I'm determined to do very well. I feel like last year was a big step getting off to the start I did. Obviously it was a disappointing third round, but I think I finished fourth, which is not what I was after, but it's more how I want to play in these events rather than, you know, shooting 5 under in the last round to finish eighth or something like that. I think last year was a big step in the right direction just with doing the right things, and hopefully I can improve on that this year."

Leishman determined to win on home soil, © Getty Images
Andrew "Beef" Johnston

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Fan favourite Andrew “Beef” Johnston will make his Australian PGA Championship debut alongside defending champion Cameron Smith and rising star Curtis Luck when he tees it up bright and early on Thursday morning.

It will be the final event for the Englishman this year who admits he has had an inconsistent 2018 campaign. He recorded five top-20 results, including a runner-up finish at Hero Indian Open after making the play-off against fellow Englishman Matt Wallace, and has arrived in Queensland keen to see off the year on a high.

“It's been strange. I changed coach just before British Masters, so putting new things into play. Coming straight into tournament, I've had days where I hit the ball really well and play well, and other days where it's been sort of a bit average, to be honest."

“I'm not putting any pressure on myself, just going to go out and play and enjoy it. I think then it gives me time off in the winter to put things I'm trying to work on into more practice, gives me a bit more time and come out in the new year. So, I put no pressure on myself, and hopefully I get a good feeling this week on the range and then go with that."

Local favourite Lucas Herbert is still chasing a maiden European Tour win after recording six top ten finishes this year, including a tied second result at the Portugal Masters. The 23 year old had been relying on invites in the 2018 season, but finished the year in style to secure 47th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and gain his card for the 2019 season.

“I haven't won an event yet, so definitely to win one is going to be really special, and the fact that it would be here in Australia, the Australian PGA, yeah, it would be huge."

“I think it's not until you sort of get home that you start reflecting because, out there at the time it just feels like it's rolling one week into the next. So I guess it's when you get home and you guys tend to ask, "What's your year been like," that you actually sort of sit back and think, "Oh, yeah, actually, yeah, it was a pretty cool year, yeah."

“I had six, seven top tens, something like that. Just couldn't quite break through and get that win. For my first year out playing off a lot of invites, it was quite unorganised in a lot of ways. I was getting in lots on Sunday night for the next week, so to be able to play the way I did after the back of all that was very pleasing.”

RACV Royal Pines Resort will become a sea of yellow in honour of golfer Jarrod Lyle for the opening day of the Australian PGA Championship on Thursday, a tribute to the much-loved Aussie golfer who passed away in August, with Herbert to carry a specially-made yellow golf bag for the week. At the completion of the tournament the bag will be auctioned off with money raised to go to Lyle’s wife Briony and their two daughters.