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Leishman is Fifth First-Time PGA Winner in 2012: A Fan's Review

First-Time Winners Add Excitement to 2012 PGA Tour

Yahoo Contributor Network

Marc Leishman began the final round at the 2012 Travelers Championship six shots out of the lead, just one week after Webb Simpson had made up a five shot deficit to win the U.S. Open. A career non-winner in 95 previous PGA Tour events, Leishman had finished in the top three four times, including a second place tie at the 2009 BMW Championship (the final win for the "old" Tiger Woods).

After a spectacular final round at TPC River Highlands, shooting an 8-under par 62, Marc Leishman hoisted his first PGA Tour winner's trophy on Sunday, June 24, 2012. In what has been a very exciting PGA Tour season, with new faces seeming to be in contention nearly every week, Leishman is the fifth first-time winner of 2012. This is a brief review of the first four.

Kyle Stanley: 2012 has been filled with monumental collapses and fantastic comebacks on the PGA Tour and Kyle Stanley could be a poster boy for both. With a six shot lead in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open, in January, the wheels came off on the final nine. Needing only a double-bogey at the par-5 72nd hole, he hit his approach into the water and eventually lost a playoff to Brandt Snedeker.

Just one week later, trailing by eight shots on Sunday, February 5th, Kyle Stanley came back to claim his first career victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Considering the complete collapse of the previous week, this has to be one of the most stunning turnarounds in PGA Tour history.

John Huh: In the final round at the 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic, Sunday, February 26th, John Huh shot an 8-under par, bogey-free score of 63. This was good enough for the 21-year-old rookie, playing in only his fifth Tour event, to earn a spot in a playoff with Robert Allenby, a 40-year-old veteran with four wins in 380 prior events played. The rookie matched the veteran hole for hole, before finally prevailing at the eighth hole of sudden death. Only one playoff has ever gone longer on the PGA Tour, when Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum were declared co-champions, still tied after 11 extra holes at the 1949 Motor City Open. John Huh is the only rookie to have won on the PGA Tour in 2012.

Jason Dufner: Jason Dufner came to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans ranked #7 on the all-time list of PGA money leaders without a win, having earned more than $8 Million in 163 Tour events played. With three prior second place finishes (most recently at the 2011 PGA Championship) and several strong performances in 2012, it felt like a win would be coming soon. On Sunday, April 29th, 19-under par for the tournament, he finally lifted his first PGA Tour winner's trophy. Now, at the end of June 2012, Jason Dufner has added a second win at the Byron Nelson Championship, finished second at Colonial, and tied for fourth at the U.S. Open Championship. He is #1 in the FedEx points race and currently ranked #8 in the world golf rankings.

Rickie Fowler: Considered one of the world's best young golfers when he turned pro, at age 20, Rickie Fowler finished tied for 7th in his first professional event on the PGA Tour, the 2009 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. After a second place finish in a playoff the following week, at the Open, it seemed his first win would come quickly. However, it took 71 events before he finally earned the title of PGA Tour winner, at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, on Sunday, May 6th. Only time will tell whether this is the first of many trophies to be hoisted by Ricker Fowler, who is #19 in the world golf rankings and still only 23 years of age.

Harold Andrews has played golf (competitively and recreationally) for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest golfer of all time.


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