Leishman’s brilliant finishing burst of an eagle and three birdies in his last five holes today, saw him race from near obscurity to contention and he finds himself in a share of 4th place with only McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Matthew Fitzpatrick ahead of him.
Sharing 4th place with Alex Noren and Jon Rahm, tomorrow shapes as a battle against some of the game’s best for Leishman as he chases his 5th PGA Tour title and his first of 2019.
Like McIlroy, Leishman has bounced back from the disappointment of a missed cut at Royal Portrush last week, failing to make the weekend by a massive six shots there when many experts felt he may well have been one of the players to beat.
It is just the second visit to the TPC Southwind for Leishman, the first coming in his PGA Tour rookie season of 2009.
McIlroy, too, would power home over the closing few holes today, four birdies in his final five sweeping him into the lead, a performance made even more meritorious by bouncing back from the agony of a gut-wrenching missed cut in Portrush.
Koepka is again in the mix in one of the big events and looms as a big danger to all, an outward nine of 31 today setting up his round of 64 to get within just one of McIlroy while 36 hole leader Fitzpatrick recovered from a horror stretch in the middle of his back nine with two late birdies to be one further back.
Of the Australians, aside from Leishman, Cameron Smith slipped from contention with his round of 73 after being tied for 2nd heading into round three. He now finds himself in a share of 18th place and seven shots adrift.
Jason Day is 37th and Adam Scott 48th.
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