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Leishman's 62 Takes Travelers
Finishing well ahead of Sunday's last groups, Australia's Marc Leishman fired an 8-under 62 to come from way behind and win the $6 million Travelers Championship. The victory, his first on the PGA Tour, was worth $1.08 million and 500 FedEx Cup points.
The 28-year-old Leishman had eight birdies and no bogeys Sunday at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., finishing at 14-under 266, one stroke ahead of Bubba Watson (65) and Charley Hoffman (66).
Thanks to his birdie binge - with five on the front nine and three more on the home half -Leishman overcame a six-stroke deficit at the start of the final round.
He was helped after Hoffman - the leader at the time - pushed his tee shot into a water hazard on the 17th and carded a double-bogey. Hoffman then bogeyed the last to miss a chance at forcing a sudden-death playoff with Leishman. Before those missteps the San Diegan was flawless, carding seven birdies to get to 7-under.
Leishman completed his final round two hours before the 54-hole leaders; all he could do was watch and wait. "I'll be watching pretty closely, but I don't need to be anxious," he told PGATour.com before the tournament was decided. "I probably think I'm one or two short and that's the attitude I'm going to have, so I'm not going to be disappointed when or if someone comes in at 15."
He added that before the Travelers he took two weeks off and the brief sabbatical might have helped. "I practiced I think two times in the three weeks," Leishman said. "It's been close for a while actually. I just get a little bit streaky with the putter, and I haven't been lately."
Reigning Masters' champion Watson fired four birdies on the front side and another on the back in his bogey-free outing for his best finish since his victory at Augusta National Golf Club in April.
Sharing fourth at 268 were Tim Clark (67), John Rollins (68) and the 54-hole co-leaders, Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher, who both shot 70s.
Brendon de Jonge (66), 2010 Travelers' winner Fredrik Jacobson (68) and Matt Kuchar (68) tied for eighth at 269. Hunter Mahan carded the low round of the tournament, a 61 that came one stroke short of tying the course record. After three birdies on the front nine, Mahan birdied six of the final nine holes to rise up the leaderboard into a share of 11th at 270 with Vaughn Taylor (65), Chez Reavie (68) and Padraig Harrington (69).
After barely making the weekend cut at 1-under and shooting an even-par 70 Saturday, Mahan, the 2007Travelers champion, was in the first group off Sunday. "I figured the lower I shoot, the faster we'll play," he told PGATour.com. "We're not going to hold up the field. It shouldn't take long to play golf."
Rory Sabbatini had the shot of the day, a hole-in-one on the 161-yard, par-3 16th. The native of South Africa who now makes his home in Dallas was surprised his ball found the cup. "Kind of joking in mid-flight, I said, 'Be the right number and go in the hole,' and it landed perfect and just kind of spun left, and the crowd started to go crazy and all of a sudden it was hard to tell whether or not it went in," Sabbatini told PGATour.com.
"But then actually you could tell from the reaction of the crowd. Pretty surreal. It was amazing." Sabbatini shot a 67 and took a share of 18th at 8-under 272.
Webb Simpson, who won his first major championship in last week's U.S. Open at Olympic Club, carded rounds of 66, 69, 68 and 71 to end up at 6-under 274 and T-29 with seven others, including another Travelers headliner, 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who closed with a 68.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/r/leaderboard/.