Leishman and Smith part of star-studded Australian PGA field

Marc Leishman plans to exact Australian PGA revenge on good friend and fellow LIV golfer Cam Smith at Royal Queensland.

Leishman went head-to-head with Smith at the 2018 Australian PGA event at Royal Pines.

Despite leading by two shots in the final round, Leishman succumbed to lose by the same margin to Smith, whose win gave him back-to-back titles in the event.

Four years later, the pair will renew their friendly but competitive rivalry, and while Smith will again have home state advantage, Leishman won’t go down without a fight.

“I don’t remember a whole lot, but it was a pretty good battle,” Leishman said when asked about his 2018 tussle with Smith.

“It was fun. Obviously, I didn’t come out on top, but it’s always nice to contend.

“He did have a bit of luck, but you need some luck to win tournaments, so I definitely don’t hold that against him.

“It would be really good to get one back. You want to play against the best and he’s the best Australian at the moment, so it’d be good to go up against him and hopefully come out on the other side this time.”

This week’s event and next week’s Australian Open will also give Leishman the chance to earn world ranking points for the first time since his defection to LIV Golf in August.

At No.71 in the world, Leishman needs to improve his ranking to have any hope of playing in next year’s majors.

“I’m just here to play well, and if I play well enough to get into the majors next year, that’s awesome, and I’ll be there,” he said.

“If I don’t, I’ll still be right. Obviously, it’d be hard to watch them on TV, but that’s a decision I made and I’m good with it.

“I hope I can play (the majors) for another eight or 10 years, but that was one of the things that I weighed up when I made the decision to head over to LIV, that I might not be able to play them anymore.

“I certainly don’t want to put the majors down by any means because I would love to be there.

“I just understand that I made the decision at the time. LIV didn’t have world golf ranking points and I understood that was part of it.”

Leishman said he planned to play no more than 20 events next year, including the 14 on the expanded LIV tour.

“I’ll play the LIV events and back here in Australia. That’s good for family life and good for golf-life balance for sure, which is why I did it (switched to LIV).

“Obviously, there was a lot of positives, and obviously the money was a factor, the schedule was a factor, and being back in Australia was a big reason for it, and you can do good things with money.”

Leishman tees off at 11am (Queensland time) on Thursday in a group which includes fellow Australian Min Woo Lee and Poland’s Adrian Meronk.

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