The PGA Tour opened its Asian swing with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. The event keeps PGA Tour fans up late as the time difference made for several late evenings for viewers watching in the states. Marc Leishman gave stateside viewers something to watch as he closed powered his way in front of the field with a string of birdies during final round play.

It’s not what the 34-year-old Australian player expected after a rough start with his driver when he first arrived for the event. Leishman told reporters that he fully expected to run out of golf balls before the event was over. 

“On Tuesday I got here, and I thought I was going to have to call Callaway and get them to leave some more golf balls in my locker, I was hitting my driver a bit sideways,” Leishman said following his win at the TPC Kuala Lumpur - West Course. “(I) Sorted that out, and this is the result.”

Leishman wins CIMB Classic by 5 strokes

“Sorted” things out is correct. When final round play started it was Leishman in a tie for the lead with two players and a pack of more players only a stroke or two back. Leishman opened tied with both Asian Tour pro Shubankhar Sharma and PGA regular Gary Woodland of Kansas.  He then quickly jumped towards the top of the leaderboard with a string of birdies on four of the first five holes.

Sharma and Woodland struggled to stay close, but both fell behind as a series of players moved in front of them. Bronson Burgoon, former player for Texas A&M, surged towards the front with an impressive final round or 68 finishing in a three-way tie for second at 267 with Emiliano Grillo and Chesson Hadley. But, it was not enough to catch Leishman who carded a final round of 65 going 26-under for the tournament.

Fourth Win and Amazing Story

The win at the CIMB Classis is the fourth for Leishman who has won three times since 2017. And, it’s a win that confirms that the player has moved his mental game forward – perhaps beyond what other players can understand. The Aussie pulled out of the famed Masters Tournament three years ago when his wife fell ill.

Seemingly out of nowhere, his wife Audrey began to get sick just prior to the Masters. Thinking it was a cold or flu bug, Leishman planned on playing. However, Audrey was near death from battling toxic shock. Leishman put the Masters out of his mind and rushed to be by his wife’s side. According to Leishman, it was something that changed how he looks at numbers on a scorecard.

“It was a very tough time that we went through about three and a half years ago,” Leishman said of his wife and her bout with toxic shock. “But - certainly made us stronger as people. Made us appreciate just the everyday things, appreciate our kids more, appreciate friends, family, everything. I won't say it made golf less important, but it made me realize golf's not life and death.”

Favored Justin Thomas Ends CIMB Classic T5

Justin Thomas was the favored player heading into round one of the CIMB Classic. The English player was the highest ranked pro on the Official World Golf Rankings taking part in the Classic but failed to put together four solid days on the course. Thomas opened up play with a 66 but carded back-to-back 69’s during round two and three. He finished strong with a 64, one of the lowest scores on Sunday, but it was not enough to erase the extra strokes on Friday and Saturday.

Thomas ended the event T5 with Abraham Ancer, Charles Howell III, Gary Woodland, and Louis Oosthuizen. The five players were all at 268 and 20-under for the tournament.

Leaderboard of the CIMB Classic thru -19 under

1Marc Leishman-26
T2Bronson Burgoon-21
T2Emiliano Grillo-21
T2Chesson Hadley-21
T5Abraham Ancer-20
T5Charles Howell III-20
T5Louis Oosthuizen-20
T5Justin Thomas-20
T5Gary Woodland-20
T10Kevin Chappell-19
T10Si-Woo Kim-19
T10Shubhankar Sharma-19
T13Byeong Hun An-18
T13Paul Casey-18
T13Stewart Cink-18
T13Austin Cook-18
T13JB Holmes-18
T13Kyle Stanley-18
T19Keegan Bradley-17
T19Kevin Na-17
T19Nick Watney-17

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