Long odds aside, Marc Leishman is shaping up as a serious contender at the US Open.
The bookmakers must have missed the memo on the affable Victorian who enters Chambers Bay as arguably Australia’s most in form golfer but opened at 126-1.
Since returning to competitive golf after almost losing wife Audrey to toxic shock syndrome, an ordeal that kept him from playing the Masters, Leishman has been building to something big.
Playing with a new, carefree perspective he contended in New Orleans, was a giant killer at the World Golf Championship Match Play, showed some flashes of brilliance at the Players Championship and Crowne Plaza Invitational and then was tied fifth in his last start at the Memorial Tournament just two weeks ago.
And with Chambers Bay setting up to have a more British Open feel than a typical US Open, the 31-year-old will also take strength from his fifth-place finish at Royal Liverpool last year.
“I definitely think I’m building to something big.
“My form’s been good, the last couple of months things are trending in the right direction, the putter feels good and I’m excited about the week,” Leishman said.
“The US Open is not usually my favourite tournament, but this is different.
“The fairways are more generous here, and the green, you’ve got to use a lot of imagination, whereas normally you’ve got to just hack it out at the US Open and hope that you judge it somewhat right.”
Leishman has braced himself for the inevitable frustration of bogeys, but while in the past he might have stewed on them for too long, these days he moves on and gets back to business.
“Obviously after what happened to Audrey, my perspective is a little different and I think I play my best golf when I don’t really care what the outcome is – just try to hit a shot and if it comes off, great; if it doesn’t, it’s not going to change my life,” he said.
“That’s going to be really good around here because there’s going to be times when you hit really good shots and it finishes in really bad positions.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if 10 over won it, so mindset is a big thing and I’m just going to try to have a really good one this week and not worry about the score.”
“Someone’s got to win it, and hopefully I’m one of those guys in it at the end.”