Aussie golfer Marc Leishman pocketed close to $2 million – and could win a further $12.4 million – after recording a wire-to-wire victory at the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship in Chicago.
The 33-year-old from Warrnambool, Victoria, coasted to a five-shot victory, recording a stunning score of 23 under par (261 strokes) that saw him break a Tiger Woods tournament record.
American legend Woods needed 262 shots to win the same event in 2007.
Brit Justin Rose and American Rickie Fowler finishing five shots adrift of Leishman in second, while Aussie Jason Day was seven shots off the pace in outright fourth.
Leishman’s win makes him one of the favourites for the FedEx Cup, which comes with a whopping $12.4 million bonus.
He is now in the top-five seeds for this week’s Tour Championship and knows that if he can win that event, he cannot be headed in the FedEx Cup standings.
The FedEx Cup – established in 2007 – has never been won by an Aussie.
“There’s been a lot of great Australian players before me,” Leishman said afterwards.
“I was lucky enough to be the first Aussie to win the PGA Tour rookie of the year award, and it’d be special to be first to win the FedEx Cup.”
Leishman, who was won two events this year – he also claimed the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March – feels that winning the FedEx Cup is a “realistic goal”.
He finished third at the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston a fortnight ago, despite leading by two shots with nine holes left.
“The FedEx Cup is a realistic goal now, I feel, after these last two events,” he added.
“I’ll go there [this week] just trying to win another tournament. It’ll be hard not to think about it but I’ll have to.”
Leishman is fourth in the race for the FedEx Cup, behind American trio Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
Day is also in the mix, sitting 15th, after a strong showing.
He preferred to talk up Leishman, though, insisting his compatriot was “a great player”.
“He’s answering the call on a big stage like the FedExCup play-offs,” Day said.
“I think there’s still a ton left in the tank for him.”
Leishman’s latest win came after some early hiccups, despite the five-shot lead he carried into the final day.
He struggled off the tee in the early stages and then produced a fifth-hole bogey to give his rivals hope.
A quick response was vital, and Leishman produced one, with a birdie on the sixth, settling the Victorian.
He added a further five birdies and two bogeys on Sunday (local time), enough to give him an excellent victory and raise hopes of one almighty pay day.