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AVONDALE, La. – Marc Leishman had been grinding his way to an opening 9-under 63 alongside teammate Cameron Smith on Thursday at the Zurich Classic, so he hadn’t heard the news that Adam Scott had opted out of this summer’s Olympics.
The news was particularly impactful for Leishman, who moved to second on the qualifying list for Australia following Scott’s decision.
“Excited. It was a goal of mine,” Leishman said.
Leishman was among a group of players who opted out of the 2016 Games in Brazil over concerns about the Zika virus, but he’s been focused on earning a spot at this year’s Olympics, which were postponed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leishman currently holds a slim lead in the Olympic rankings over fellow Australians Matt Jones and Jason Day. The field for the Olympic competition will be set by the rankings on June 21.
“Obviously Matt Jones is snapping at my heels. I know I’ll need to play good until June 20, but I want to play well past that, and I’m excited. Be nice to team up with this fellow [Smith] again,” Leishman said.