Leishman searching for weekend magic of St Andrews

Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:23pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

TROON, Scotland (Reuters) - Marc Leishman is looking to recreate the weekend magic that catapulted him into contention at St Andrews 12 months ago after battling his way through the field in the British Open on Friday.

One year ago the Australian just about survived the halfway cut before rocketing up the leaderboard with a sparkling eight-under 64 in the third round.

Leishman was the last-day leader at the 'Home of Golf' but a bogey at the 16th effectively ended his title dreams and he had to settle for a share of second place behind American winner Zach Johnson.

The 2016 Nedbank Challenge champion in South Africa was consistency personified on Friday, reeling off 16 par figures and two birdies to return a two-under 69 and make amends for the disappointment of opening with a 74 at Royal Troon.

"Hopefully I can do the same this weekend as I did last year," Leishman told Reuters in an interview after finishing on one-over 143, leaving him 11 shots behind championship pacesetter Phil Mickelson of the U.S.

"You've got to play really good golf and hole some putts but there's no reason why I can't get a good score and get myself within shouting distance of the leaders," he said as the gentle waves of the Irish Sea caressed the sandy beaches on the west coast of Scotland.

First, though, Leishman needs to start finding his range with the shortest club in the bag.

"I hit a lot of good putts today, I just need more speed because the greens are a bit slow," said the 32-year-old.   Continued...

Jun 18, 2016; Oakmont, PA, USA; Marc Leishman hits from a bunker on the 4th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports