Leishman will crack world top 10: Kelly

Having won the US PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines last week, Marc Leishman is keen to build on his hot start to the year.

29-Jan-2020 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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Marc Leishman's long-time caddie Matt Kelly believes it's only a matter of time before his boss is ranked among the world's top 10 golfers.

Leishman earned the fifth US PGA Tour victory of his career at last week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and has jumped to No.20 on the world rankings.

It also took his career earnings to $US28.8 million, sitting 41st on the US PGA Tour's career money list.

He is the fifth Australian behind Adam Scott ($US53.5 million), Jason Day ($US46 million), Geoff Ogilvy ($US30.4 million) and Stuart Appleby ($US29.9 million) on that list.

Leishman hit a career-high world ranking of 12th in January 2018 but has drifted gradually since then.

He has never won on the lucrative circuit before the month of March and now has almost a full year on the US PGA Tour to build on his triumph.

His childhood friend and caddie, Kelly, has backed Leishman to earn a maiden stint in the world's top 10 before the year is over.

"To be in the top 10 golfers in the world would be an incredible accomplishment and it's something I think Marc can do, absolutely," Kelly told AAP.

"He would probably need two more wins this year to get there but he has had a multiple-win season before.

"If he drives it better, he can let his world-class iron play and putting shine. There's no reason why he can't contend in the majors this year."

The 36-year-old Leishman is inspired by his early 2020 success, which he says is a product of losing 10 kilograms since the British Open last July.

He has also placed a focus on treating first rounds like final rounds with his mental coach, Neale Smith.

"That has been an issue of mine throughout my whole career; I have a bad habit of slow starts but then I come home hard at the end when it's sort of too late," Leishman told AAP.

"Having lost some weight, I feel as fit as I would in the middle of the season. My focus level is good and hopefully I can keep it that way."

Leishman went through a five-year drought between his first US Tour win in 2012 and his second at the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2017.

The affable Warrnambool native says he is humbled to call himself a five-time winner on the US Tour.

"I didn't really ever imagine I would be a five-time tour winner, to be honest," he said.

"I just wanted to play on any tour really; play golf for a living. To do it on this tour is pretty amazing."

Leishman will next tee up at the Genesis Invitational, which will be hosted by Tiger Woods at Los Angeles' famed Riviera Country Club.


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