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It was as precise an approach shot as you could hope to see, and even though he didn’t believe it at the time, it was the sign that Australia’s Marc Leishman would go on to march to a six-stroke victory on Sunday in the $6.5-million Nedbank Golf Challenge.
He used his long, languid swing to deposit a sand-wedge three metres past the 13th hole, and the ball spun back towards the flag as if being pulled by a piece of string. It stopped just a fraction from the hole, and the tap-in birdie was probably enough to snuff out any remaining faint chance Sweden’s Henrik Stenson had of chasing him down.
“I definitely didn’t think I clinched it then,” he said. “But you never know with golf. Probably when the putt went in on 16 – that’s when I knew that I’d have to do something really dumb to lose it from there.”
The victory brought a tumultuous 2015 to an end on an appropriately high note after things had threatened to become awful in April: His wife Audrey was hospitalised with toxic shock syndrome while he was preparing for the Masters.