Marc Leishman knows the folly of being overconfident going in to a US Open.
But the firm and fast Torrey Pines layout confronting the Aussie this week, a place where Leishman has won, is enough for him to feel like his chances are “as good as they get”.
Leishman won around the San Diego course last January, taking his victory in the Farmers Insurance Open on Australia Day, so familiarity and comfort are two ticks in his box this week.
But the US Open has been his worst major, with a best finish of 18th, and four missed cuts in his nine appearances.
Leishman, who missed the cut at last month’s PGA too, will play the opening two rounds with tournament favourite Jon Rahm and despite his recent history at the event, has liked what he’s seen so far.
“It’s a course I like. As far as US Open courses, it’s as good as it’ll get for me. But it’s still going to be really tough,” he said.
“Confidence is good, but I‘m never one to go into a US Open overconfident by any means.”
“Scoring will be tough. I think it‘s going to be a firm US Open, which is good.”
Marc Leishman won at Torrey Pines in January 2020. Picture: Donald Miralle / Getty Images / AFPSource:AFP
Leishman said he has already put his poor performance in the PGA at Kiawah Island in perspective.
“I mean, it was a very different golf course, different conditions. Yeah, I‘m not worried about that one,” he said.
“You know, I think that’s probably the hardest major for Australians is the PGA, the way it’s normally set up. So yeah, definitely feel a little bit more optimistic about this week.”
Fellow Aussie Cameron Smith said he had done a “ton of practice” in recent weeks, having played just one tournament in four weeks since the PGA.
He said he needed the work to be on top of his game around Torrey Pines.
“Game feels really nice. I‘ve had … I haven’t really played a lot of golf lately, but I’ve done a ton of practice, especially the last week,” Smith said.
“It’s going to be a good challenge around here. Yeah, it’ll be good.
“US Opens are always a challenge. They always mix it up, which is nice. Yeah, I think it‘s going to be tough. The weather is going to be perfect. That’s probably going to be the only thing in our favour, I think.”
Leishman and Smith are among seven Australians in the field, hoping to be the first since Geoff Ogilvy in 2006 to toast US Open success.
There will be no Jason Day after he opted against going through qualifying after the recent birth of his fourth child, missing his first major since 2012.
Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Wade Ormsby, Brad Kennedy and veteran Steve Allan round out the Australian contingent.
“I think there’s probably four or five of us (Australians) that are playing really good golf at the moment,” Smith said.
“Let’s hope for Australia that we can finally get one home.”
AUSSIE U.S. OPEN TEE TIMES (AEST)
11:45 PM (Thursday night) Andy Pope, Brad Kennedy, Thomas Aiken
5:30 AM Zach Zaback, Steve Allan, Eric Cole
5:30 AM David Coupland, Taylor Pendrith, Wade Ormsby (10th tee)
6:25 AM Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson
6:36 AM Marc Leishman, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed
6:47 AM Matt Jones, Brendan Steele, Cameron Smith
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