Marc Leishman had to sweat it out before tasting his first PGA Tour victory.
The 28-year-old Australian claimed his first PGA Tour title, firing an eight-under 62 to take the clubhouse lead at the Travelers Championship, then waited it out as a series of contenders fell by the wayside.
“I can’t believe it,” Leishman said. “When I finished I didn’t quite know if it would be good enough. I was pretty confident it wouldn’t be.”
Leishman finished at 14-under 266, beginning his fourth round on Sunday six shots back of the leaders.
He had eight birdies in his bogey-free round, then waited in the clubhouse for over two hours while a number of challengers, including Charley Hoffman, tried to overtake him.
“I was getting ready to have a beer. But I didn’t, luckily,” Leishman said of Warrnambool.
Hoffman was 16-under heading into the 17th hole, but the American blew a two-stroke lead with a double bogey, bogey finish. He plunked his tee shot in the water on 17. He then bogeyed the 18th hole after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.
Hoffman shot a 66 to finish in a tie for second with Masters winner Bubba Watson, who fired a 65.
Watson was at minus-13 through 13 holes, but did not make another birdie.
Leishman is the fifth player in seven years to post their maiden PGA Tour win at the River Highlands course. He has four international wins, including the Jisan Resort Open in South Korea and the Queensland Cairns Classic in 2006 in his native Australia.
Leishman twice finished as the runner-up on the PGA Tour, and tied for third at the Byron Nelson Championship last month.
“It was different finishing early,” Leishman said. “It is not what I expected for my first win, but an awesome way to do it.”
Leishman was named PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2009, but failed to translate that into victories.
Third-round leaders Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher both had poorly timed bogeys on the back nine.
Thatcher failed to birdie 18, handing the title to the Australian.
Davis (70) and Thatcher (70) ended in a four-way tie for fourth.