(Reuters) – Australian duo Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith harnessed the spirit of Anzac Day to victory at the Zurich Classic on Sunday, bringing pride to family back home they haven’t seen in over a year.
The duo carded a two-under par 70 to beat South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in a playoff at TPC Louisiana in New Orleans in the two-man team event, a win with deeper significance as it coincided with the holiday in Australia and New Zealand.
“I was actually speaking to my old man last night and he said it’s a really good omen for us guys being up the top of the leaderboard on Anzac Day,” Smith, 27, told reporters. “I know my family went out to a dawn service yesterday morning and paid their respects, so maybe we have got a bit of good karma out there today because of that.”
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance commemorating all Australians and New Zealanders who served in conflicts and peackeeping operations. It was originally marked to honour members of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during World War One, and draws large crowds annually at sporting events in Austalia.
“We have both got family back in Australia too. Probably the hardest thing about it has been last year, not being able to see family,” said Leishman. “I haven’t seen my family for over a year. I think Cam’s the same.”
It was the second holiday victory for Leishman, who defeated Spain’s Jon Rahm to win the Farmers Insurance Open on Australia Day a year ago.
“I need more Australian holidays,” said the 37-year-old, six-time PGA Tour winner. “It’s nice.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Karishma Singh)