When Marc Leishman drained an improbable 15-metre putt for an Eagle on the par-5 16th hole at Bay Hill during the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it would have seemed an omen of sorts, although he did not take best advantage of his good fortune that ultimately secured his first PGA win in five years.
He had to work hard on the final two holes to make par and maintain his one-shot advantage. He received a little help from American Charlie Hoffman, who bogeyed the 17th behind Leishman, meaning as soon as his second shot on the 18th failed to find the cup, only third-round leader Kevin Kisner posed any threat to Leishman.
Needing birdie to force a playoff, Kisner hit his second into a green-side bunker on the 18th and when his blast from the sand did not go in, Leishman and his family were $US 1.5 million richer.
The victory, coming as it does as Leishman is having some personal issues with a drink driving charge hanging over him, offered additional perks, such as a berth in The Masters in April.
Leishman almost threw it away of the final hole when his drive found the deep rough on the right side of the 18th. He was forced to layup, which he did beautifully and backed with a 30-metre chip shot that was even more beautiful as it cozied up to within a metre, making Leishman’s putt for par as close to routine as possible.