Aussies Leishman, Day stretch QBE Shootout lead

Miami (AFP) – Marc Leishman holed out for eagle again on Saturday as he and Jason Day combined for an eight-under par 64 to stretch their lead to three shots in the QBE Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.


The Aussie duo took a one-shot lead into the second round of the unofficial team event and kept the accelerator down in the modified alternate-shot format in which both players hit a tee shot, select which one to play and alternate shots from there to complete the hole.

They built a 24-under par total that put them three shots clear of three teams: Billy Horschel and Sam Burns, defending champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English, and Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak.

After a birdie at the first, Leishman holed out for eagle from the fairway at the seventh -- his third hole-out eagle in two days.

Leishman then hit his approach within two feet at the 11th for a birdie, and after birdies at 13, 15 and 17 Day rolled in a birdie bomb from the fringe at 18.

Day made five birdie putts on the day, although he said that with few putts from outside 10 feet until the back nine he didn't really feel momentum building.

"It was nice to be able to roll that one in," he said of his putt at 18.

"But, once again, this is the highlight reel here," he added, slapping Leishman on the shoulder, "holing out again."

Horschel and Burns put a disappointing opening round behind them, firing 10 birdies in their 10-under 62 to get to 21-under.

The duo were the only team to record a bogey in Friday's forgiving scramble format, but Horschel said they knew the alternate-shot would suit them.

"I think we both knew coming in today Sam was going to put the ball in the fairway because he hits it a long way, a lot further than I do," Horschel said.

"I was going to have to hit really good second shots, so I was just hoping to hit some really good close ones and I did. I hit some great wedge shots to 25 feet, 30 feet that he made -- it worked out very well."

Kuchar and English, whose victory last year was their third in the event hosted by Greg Norman, opened with an eagle at the first and added four more birdies in their six-under 66.

Na and Kokrak rallied after back-to-back bogeys at 10 and 11 with birdies at six of their last seven holes for an eight-under 64.

"We had a couple of hiccups, but we played great," Na said.

Leishman said he and Day would have to go low in Sunday's four-ball final round to win.

"The guys went crazy-low today, and tomorrow is four-ball," he said. "We're going to have to go a lot lower than we did today."