Spotlight on: Marc Leishman at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open

The Australian is making his debut at Memorial Park, but he loves playing golf in Texas.

Marc Leishman has always enjoyed bashing balls in the Lone Star State.

Back in 2008 he made his Texas debut on the Korn Ferry Tour at Midland CC and won by the small margin of … 11 strokes!

Later that season he returned to Texas, added a top 10 finish in the Tour Championship which confirmed graduation to the PGA Tour, and two top 10s in the state in 2009 helped him retain the card that he has never since relinquished.

This week he will make his debut at Memorial Park in his fifth start at the Houston Open.

He's opened his 2021/22 season in excellent fettle so what can we expect of him and is there any way to profit?

Let's take a closer look.

Leishman in 2021

It's been a solid year, but maybe not quite as successful as he may have hoped for.

In one sense it started as it often does: he loves the January events and thrashed three 65s to land a fast-finishing tied fourth in the Sony Open before adding a top 20 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

As is also rather typical, he then struggled for the next couple of months.

A top five finish in the Masters was promising, as was victory alongside his mate Cam Smith in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but, with the exception of tied third in the Travelers Championship, the summer was a bit of a letdown and he didn't make the Tour Championship.

Perhaps that explains the good start to the 2021/22 season which has witnessed back-to-back top four finishes followed by T38th in the CJ Cup (where he closed with a 64).

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Leishman in Texas

As we've already discovered, he got off to a great start in Texas and has never really let the foot off the gas.

He's twice made the knockout stages of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin CC, has a top five at LaCantera, multiple top 30s at each of Las Colinas, Colonial and Craig Ranch, and was second at Trinity Forest.

In all, he's made 34 starts, missed just six cuts, recorded 13 top 20s, nine of them top 10s, fives top fives, with that win to kick it all off.

Why does he like playing in Texas? Asked that question a few years ago he said: "It's not very often you play in Australia when it's not windy like in Texas. It's something I enjoy doing, playing in tough conditions. I grew up in Warrnambool, which is known as 'Windy Warrnambool.' It's always windy. It's normally always blowing really hard."

Leishman in round one

In 29 strokeplay starts in Texas he's landed six top five first round positions including a solo three shot lead at Trinity Forest in the 2018 Byron Nelson Championship.

But in this calendar year swift starts have not been his thing: in 21 starts he's recorded just one top five position after 18 holes (and that was tied fifth).

Leishman in a 72-hole match-up

PlanetSportBet has grouped Leishman with Jason Kokrak and Max Homa.

Throughout their careers, the head-to-head-to head count reads 35-45-30 and since the start of 2020 it is 18-26-16.

In Texas alone, it is 1-1-1 and on Bermuda and other grainy greens (as this week) it is 2-9-2.

Despite leading in three of those four categories, Kokrak is the outsider of the trio.

Conclusion

Leishman looks a nice fit for the course and his each way price is worthy of interest.

But so, too, is Kokrak in that three-way match-bet.

And also, maybe remember him ahead of Sunday's golf because his last three final round scores have been 65, 63 and 64.

READ MORE: Viktor Hovland: a look at the Norwegian's hopes of landing a Major in 2022

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