Home-town hero Marc Leishman has described his Presidents Cup fightback as his finest day of golf after he clawed his way from five holes down to help the Internationals secure a final-day lead for the first time since 1998.
Leishman and his sharp-shooting Mexican partner Abraham Ancer looked down and out against US heavyweights Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler midway through the second foursome session at Royal Melbourne on Saturday.
But they rallied to tie and earn a crucial point to help give the Internationals the lead heading into the final day’s play.
Leishman said the miraculous recovery was one he would treasure.
“That’s probably as good as I’ve felt on a golf course, and I only halved the match,” the 36-year-old said.
“We’ve all won tournaments, but we don’t get chances to play with a teammate very often.
“To be successful with a teammate would be pretty cool … I think if we can play well and do our jobs tomorrow, what we felt today is going to probably be pushed aside for what we may feel.”
The Americans were running hot to post a five-up lead which they held until the 10th hole.
Leishman and Ancer then stormed back with two birdies as they clinched four of the next seven holes to close the lead to one and set up a thrilling finale.
World No.4 Thomas then pulled his drive off the par-4 18th tee, with the ball landing in the rough under a low-hanging branch.
But to the roar of the huge gallery Leishman pulled off the shot of his tournament, sending their approach to little more than a metre before the Americans conceded the hole.
Leishman said the crowd kept he and Ancer in the match when it appeared a lost cause.
“It was pretty amazing,” Leishman said.
“Even when we were down on the front nine there, our spirits got a little low there for a few holes and the crowd was still getting behind us.
“I think that’s what got us through … walking to that 18th tee there felt like the Tour de France, everyone screaming, it was awesome.
“To fight back from five down, it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”
Fellow Aussie Adam Scott’s dream Presidents Cup run came to an end with a tie and a loss on day three.
Posting wins on the opening two days to help the Internationals to a commanding lead, it appeared Scott was on track to finally crack a Presidents Cup victory in his ninth appearance.
In the morning fourball session, Scott and Korean playing partner Byeong Hun An held a one up lead until the final hole when American Tony Finau then iced a two-metre birdie putt to tie the match.
He and Louis Oosthuizen then fell to Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland two and one in the foursomes.
Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im led three up early in their afternoon showdown with Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay but three successive birdies saw their lead fall away with the Americans going on to chalk up a two and one win.