ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Little-known Marc Leishman hailed the finest tournament display of his career after finishing joint second with South African Louis Oosthuizen at the 144th British Open on Monday.
Leishman and Oosthuizen were eclipsed by American winner Zach Johnson in a four-hole playoff but the Australian said he took a lot of positives from his St Andrews campaign.
“I’ve never put four really good rounds together like that,” the 31-year-old told reporters after landing a bumper cheque for 536,500 pounds ($834,954).
“I’ve probably putted better, I’ve probably driven it better, I’ve hit my irons better but put all together, that’s probably the best week I’ve had.”
Leishman led golf’s oldest major with six holes of his final round to play and, with victory in sight, an errant stroke at the par-four 16th proved costly.
He hit his second shot into a deep bunker and, despite splashing out skillfully, a missed putt from five feet meant he signed for a five.
“That hole was disappointing,” said Leishman who now lives in the U.S. and has one PGA Tour win to his name. “I actually didn’t hit that bad a putt, it just didn’t do what I thought it was going to do.
“I hit a really good bunker shot and didn’t finish it off.”
A serious illness suffered by his wife Audrey earlier this year will ensure Leishman’s disappointment will not linger for long.
She was so ill three months ago with myopathy, a disease where the muscles cease to function, that he feared he might lose her and thoughts of quitting golf went through his mind.
Leishman’s wife is still weak but on the road to recovery and her health scare has helped give the golfer a new perspective on day to day matters.
“I feel like I’ve always had a pretty good outlook on life and now it takes a lot more to worry me,” he explained earlier this week.
“I don’t get annoyed about little things that I cannot really help. When you hit a bad shot there’s no real point getting frustrated about it.
“I feel like even if I do have a bad day I can still go home and hopefully give my wife a hug and cuddle my two boys,” said Leishman.
Editing by Justin Palmer