Two things became abundantly clear on Sunday afternoon at the Melbourne World Cup of Golf.
One: Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry are worthy world champions.
Two: Cameron Smith is a bona fide star.
Having started the final round six shots behind the breakaway Belgians, Leishman and Smith wasted no time and launched an all-out attack on the Sandbelt course.
Warrnambool’s favourite son resembled a crafty midfielder early in the piece, firing shots into relatively soft greens for the 25-year-old Smith to calmly convert into birdies at holes 2, 4 and 8.
Crowds built. They cheered. They sang. The home favourites were flying.
Australia made the turn in 32 and had reached 17-under-par for the tournament. But the Belgians still led by five shots.
The Aussies would need something special if they were to win their nation its sixth World Cup.
Leishman, who teed off from the even holes during the foursomes, stuffed one to five feet at the par-3 12th – and Smith, once again, stepped up to the plate with an enviable amount of poise.
The situation repeated itself at the par-4 13th and the Australians were within two shots of the lead after back-to-back birdies.
But something potentially disastrous happened at the par-5 14th ...
Leishman, playing from the greenside bunker, made the same mistake as Friday and left his ball in the sand.
Smith to the rescue.
The reigning Australian PGA champion handed his putter back to his caddy, Sam Pinfold, took out his lob wedge, splashed his ball over the lip of the bunker and watched as it rolled for 10 feet before gently kissing the pin and dropping into the hole.
The crowd erupted.
The roar was celebratory. But it was also filled with the realisation that Smith is seriously good – and he deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as his playing partner and former World No.1s Jason Day and Adam Scott.
“Obviously I wasn’t expecting to hole it … I haven’t heard a roar like that for a very long time,” Smith smiled.
Three straight birdies had the Australians at 20-under-par and they were now just two back of Pieters and Detry, who bogied the par-4 15th.
“You can hear the ‘oi oi oi’ chants going … So you know somebody made a birdie,” Pieters said post-round.
But Leishman and Smith never got closer – and 20 minutes after signing for the round of the day (seven-under, 65), they watched as Belgium won its first World Cup since Flory Van Donck won the individual title in 1960.
“I told my Mum and Dad it’s been a long time since I won and this feels as good as an individual title,” Pieters said.
“It’s not something you put on your list when you’re a golfer but I felt it this morning and I felt it while we were playing … I’m very, very happy.”
Detry, who grew up alongside Pieters, added: “Being able to put our names down on the list when you see the amount of good players and all the big names actually on the Cup … It feels pretty special.”
Australia ultimately finished tied-second with Mexico – represented by Australian Open champion Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz – three shots behind Belgium.