Leishman claims Aust golf rankings throne

Dec 26, 2017 - 1:08 AM Marc Leishman says he'll only briefly savour becoming the top-ranked Australian golfer for the first time before working even harder.

Leishman ended a six-year monopoly former world No.1s Jason Day and Adam Scott held on the Australian top spot when the rankings were updated on Monday.

The 34-year-old Victorian passed Day as he returned to a career-high position of No.12, which he first earned in October.

While Day fell to No.13 after starting 2017 as world No.1 and Scott (31) dropped outside the world's top 30 for the first time since November 2010, Leishman is eager to build on a breakout year.

The Warrnambool native bagged two US Tour victories in addition to seven top 10s and 16 top-25 finishes in 2017.

And with earnings of $US1,063,500 from his first two events of the wraparound US season, Leishman doesn't intend on slowing down when he kicks off 2018 at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii next week.

"The goal for 2018 would definitely be to win a major and win a few times on tour," Leishman told AAP.

"I think I've raised the bar for myself after a great year, but I'm not taking anything for granted or feel it's a given I'm going to play well again.

"I've got to work harder and try to win more frequently."

Leishman appears due for a maiden major championship title after losing in a three-man playoff to Zach Johnson at the 2015 British Open at St Andrews, while he also tied sixth at the event this year.

He also tied fourth at the 2013 Masters when Scott became the first Australian to don Augusta National's coveted green jacket.

"Hopefully, after I've showed the golf world this year that I'm tough to beat when I'm playing well, the next step is to win a major," said Leishman.

"They are the four golf events where the whole sporting world tunes in and it'd mean a lot for my career and my family to win one.

"I'm already exempt into the four majors (for the first time since 2010) and that allows me to work my schedule and practice around peaking for those four weeks."

Cameron Smith is also poised for another stellar year, rising to world No.61 after his sudden-death victory at the Australian PGA Championship earlier in December.

The young Brisbane native, who broke through for a first US Tour victory at the Zurich Classic in May, will make his first start to the 30-man Tournament of Champions on Maui.

The no-cut event featuring winners from the previous season will help Smith's push to climb into the world's top 50 and secure a second Masters invitation.

Source: AAP

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