Golf: Young Wise hungry for first PGA title

Marc Leishman playing a shot during the third round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament on May 19, 2018.
Marc Leishman playing a shot during the third round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament on May 19, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

DALLAS (Texas) • Aaron Wise was the youngest golfer to make the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson on Friday. But the 21-year-old is not content with just playing on weekends.

The American chased down Australian Marc Leishman on Saturday to grab a share of the lead and set up a two-man showdown heading into the final round.

Wise shot a three-under 68 to tie Leishman (69) at 17-under 196.

After arriving at the links-style Trinity Forest layout south of Dallas on the back of his career-best PGA Tour finish of second two weeks ago at Quail Hollow, Wise found himself with raised levels of what he wanted on Saturday.

"I almost felt like I had expectations," he said after leading or co-leading a tournament after 54 holes for the first time in his career.

"I expected more from myself. Felt like I turned it around. Three-under is a good score around here."

He birdied the par-four 16th and the par-three 17th hole to briefly take solo control before making a bogey on the par-four 18th to drop back.

Australian Matt Jones (68) and American Kevin Na (69) were four shots back at 13 under, with Jimmy Walker (70) and Brian Gay (72) on 12 under.

Hometown favourite and three-time Major champion Jordan Spieth failed to push his way into contention, settling for a 71 that left him well back at seven under.

Leishman seized control of the tournament in the opening round with a 61 and has been steady since, with a 66 on Friday and making just two bogeys over his last two rounds.

But his playing partner in the final round has caught his eye.

"He's a solid player for I heard this morning he's only 21," Leishman, 34, said. "I didn't realise that. I guess I was in high school before he was born."

Wise has won at almost every level, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada and the Web.com Tour, which is the PGA development tour. And he is ready to come of age.

"Winning is winning at any level," he told pgatour.com.

"It's golf, at the end of the day. If you play better than everyone else, you're going to win. That's why I play it."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2018, with the headline 'Young Wise hungry for first PGA title'. Print Edition | Subscribe