Marc Leishman wins Arnold Palmer Invitational


Marc Leishman snatched a thrilling one-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a late surge up the leaderboard on Sunday. 

Leishman came from behind to lead the field with an enormous 50 foot eagle-putt on the 16th hole, finishing the tournament one-shot clear of third round leaders Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.

His second PGA Tour victory ended a five year drout for the Australian on this side of the pond, earning him Arnold Palmer's signiature red cardigan and a place at The Masters in April. Before this tournament he was World No.62, needing to either win or move up in to the World's top 50 to secure his spot at Augusta.

"It's a dream come true," Leishman said after his win.

"Mr. Palmer was an awesome guy who I was lucky enough to meet a few times. To honour him was huge. And it was the first time I won a tournament with my family here. It's all come together."

There were numerous nods to Arnold Palmer as tribute this week both from the players and from what went on around the tournament - one of which was the red cardigan. Following his victory Leishman was presented with an Arnie's Army red cardigan of the like made famous by Mr Palmer, which was substituted for the usual blue blazer in honour of this special week.

Marc Leishman presented with Arnold Palmer red cardigan 
His putter was the key to a three-under-par final-round of 69, holing long putts on the sixth and 10th while Hoffman and Kisner failed to maintain their form from the previous days. The final duo could only manage a pair of one-over-par 73s having both racked up a handful of bogeys.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy had the best round of the day for the second time over the weekend, and briefly held a share of the lead while heading down the 18th fairway.

He had a long chance for birdie on the last and ended up three-putting his way back to fourth place, but it was another encouraging performance for the World No.3.

"I'm really pleased with how I went this weekend and can take a lot of positives going forward," McIlroy said.

"It would have been nice to give it a better go. I had chances on 17 and 18"

It was also another great exhibition of skill from Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who are definitely making their names known on the PGA Tour. Hatton finished tied fourth with McIlroy while Fleetwood's final-round 68 put him tied for 10th and will firmly secure his spot at his first ever Masters. 

With both Leishman and Fleetwood guaranteeing their spots at Augusta, the current total of players qualified for the Masters sits at 90.

Marc Leishman: In the bag

Driver: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic (Fujikura Speeder Evolution II 757), 9 degrees

3-wood: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic, 15 degrees

7-wood: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic, 21 degrees

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 16; (4-PW): Callaway Apex UT (3)

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged (54 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM6 (58 degrees)

Putter: Odyssey Versa #1 Wide Black

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X