by Jeff Skinner
Marc Leishman had a difficult afternoon at the Travelers Championship yesterday. The easy part of the day was his bogey free round of eight under 62. The difficult part was waiting around for two and a half hours while the leaders finished.
Plenty of players made a charge but then all of them faded at the end and the Aussie was left standing alone at fourteen under par and had earned his first PGA Tour win.
Bubba Watson blew his chance with a water ball at fifteen. Tim Clark couldn’t sink a putt when he needed to. Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher were in it until they ran out of holes. John Rollins was in the mix until back to back bogeys killed him.
But the most painful of the collapses came from the laid back California kid, Charley Hoffman. Hoffman had surged to the lead with seven birdies on his first thirteen holes. He came to the par four seventeenth at -16 and a two shot lead over Leishman. He then hit his worst shot of the week as his tee ball went way right, way short and way wet. He dropped in the rough and was still faced with a 200 yard shot over the lake. Boldly, he went for it but flew the green and couldn’t get it up and down from the deep rough. His double bogey dropped him into a tie with Leishman.
Hoffman still had hope as a birdie on eighteen would win it and a par would put him in a playoff. Unfortunately another wayward tee ball left him a long approach from the right rough. He could only reach the greenside bunker and his failure to get up and down again left him with a bogey five and one back of the leader. It was a very tough finish for Hoffman and he acknowledged that but he was upbeat after the round:
“I don’t think 17 sets up visually well for anybody,” Hoffman said. “It’s a tough tee shot and I’m not the first person to hit it in that water. I’m not going to be the last person to hit it in the water. I just hit a bad shot.”
“What I did on 18 was pretty pathetic. Pretty easy drive for me and fanned it out to the right. Pretty poor second shot, pretty poor bunker shot and even worse putt, so when it’s said and done obviously a bad finish and bad taste in my mouth.”
His still found some positive thoughts, “Anytime you’re in contention you’ve played good golf. I played pretty good golf for 72 holes.”