Leishman aiming for US Open place at Crowne Plaza
The PGA Tour’s return to Texas for the Crowne Plaza Invitational takes on some added significance for Australian players starting tonight in the US.
Adam Scott returns to the Colonial Country club to defend the only title he won world-wide in 2014. The-then world number one defeated Jason Dufner in a playoff to become the fourth Australian winner in the event’s long history.
With the win, Scott clinched his own personal ‘Texas Slam’ with career victories in the Crowne Plaza, Byron Nelson, Texas and Houston Opens and consolidated his top ranking in the process.
It’s a different story for Scott in 2015 as he tries to get his season on the right tracks after an inauspicious run of ‘outs’ in his last six starts, including a missed cut in last week’s Wells Fargo Championship.
Scott has slipped outside the top 10 in the world and with the US Open just four weeks away, a return to some of his Texas form of old would be more than timely for the Queenslander.
This week also represents an important opportunity for Marc Leishman, who could lock up his spot at Chambers Bay with a solid performance. Those players not already qualified who are in the top 60 in the Official World Golf Rankings on May 25 will earn an exemption to the Open.
At No.56, Leishman needs to at the very least ensure he makes the weekend cut to shorten his odds of booking a place in Seattle alongside Scott, Jason Day, John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy.
Interestingly, Matt Jones (No.65) is not entered this week and will miss an opportunity to force his way into the Top 60 to qualify for the Open.
A final top 60 ranking opportunity occurs in a few weeks’ time on June 15, the Monday of US Open week, in addition to the pressure-packed Sectional and Final Qualifying events that are occurring across America, England and Japan in coming weeks.