On the Marc!on December 6, 2015
Marc Leishman became only the second Australian winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in its 35-year history when he claimed a comfortable six-stroke victory at the Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.
Leishman closed with a 67 to win on 19 under par, following 2009 champion Robert Allenby as the second Australian winner of “Africa’s Major”. Henrik Stenson took second place on 13 under following a final round of 72.
Branden Grace finished as the leading South African in a share of fourth place on eight under.
It was an emotional triumph for Leishman, ending a 2015 he is happy to see the back of. In March his wife was rushed to hospital with a life-threating respiratory disorder. He also had a death in the family this year, and he lost a playoff for the Open Championship.
“I’m going to be happy to have this year over with. Audrey was so sick, and then I lost an uncle who I was very close to. So this tops off a tough year for me,” he said.
Leishman was one clear of Stenson going into the final round and although he kept himself in the lead with some incredibly solid golf, he always expected the steely Swede to mount a challenge.
“Henrik is an awesome player and at times it felt a bit like match play out there between us. I also knew that trouble was waiting on every hole on this golf course so I was focused on every shot.”
But three birdies in four holes over the turn gave him the edge over the field, and he surged further ahead with three birdies in four holes from the 13th to enjoy a five-stroke lead playing the 18th. Stenson bogeyed the final hole to give Leishman the eventual six-stroke win.
“It’s an awesome feeling to win. It’s not very often that you walk up 18 with a good cushion and can enjoy it. Holding this trophy is an awesome feeling.”
As for what he plans to do with the $1 250 000 cheque for first place, Leishman already had a pretty good idea.
“We’ve just moved into a new home and this will definitely help pay for that.”