Last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational winner birdied the second hole of a playoff against fellow Group Three members Pat Perez and Lee Westwood to book his place in the weekend rounds at Austin Country Club in Texas.
The three finished tied at two points apiece after the fourth member of the group, Jason Day, withdrew from the tournament on day one to be with his mother who has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Leishman was scheduled to play Day in round three but with the Queenslander’s absence had to watch from the sidelines as the match between Westwood and Perez decided his fate.
When the Englishman triumphed 2 & 1, the trio headed to the first tee to decide the winner at sudden death strokeplay.
Westwood and Leishman came within millimetres of sealing the win at the first green, both suffering violent horse shoe lip outs for birdie.
At the second, Perez pulled his tee shot into a hazard and effectively ruled himself out of the playoff when he elected to hit three from the tee while both Leishman and Westwood found the green in regulation.
Westwood’s birdie attempt from 20 feet broke across the face of the hole while Leishman rolled his dead centre from 12 feet to book a Saturday tee time against the in-form Phil Mickelson.
“Having a good week or so,” Leishman told David Feherty moments after the winning putt fell.
“Hopefully can keep that going these next couple of days.”
Leishman said while he was pleased to advance he was also thinking of Day while he had the morning off.
“Got to spend the morning in bed, unfortunately because of what’s happening with Jase,” he said.
“Wish him and his family all the best.”
Leishman said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing Mickelson who has been in scintillating form all week and is yet to play beyond the 15th hole in any match.
“It’ll be a really tough match, he’s obviously playing pretty well,” said Leishman.
“I see he’s had a pretty big win today. I just have to keep hitting it the way I have been and try and make some putts.”
Charles Howell, Tyrell Hatton and Rafa Cabrera-Bello also played a three man playoff in Group 10 with Howell advancing with a birdie at the fifth extra hole.
Kevin Na beat Matt Fitzpatrick in extra time to claim top spot in Group 6, Bill Haas went six extra holes against K.T Kim in Group 11 before advancing while Ross Fisher overcame Louis Oosthuizen in Group 4.
Dustin Johnson continued his dominating form for the week though was tested for the first time in his match against Jimmy Walker.
After racing to a 6up lead through seven holes Johnson was reeled back in by the reigning US PGA champion with a birdie eagle run to cut the deficit to four through 13 holes.
But the World Number One guaranteed his place in the weekend rounds with a 25 foot par putt to halve the 14th hole and assure the half point he needed to advance.
The full list of pool winners and bracket matches can be found here.
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