There’ll be no drinking beers with the Australian ambassador to the US this year but Marc Leishman is still looking forward to this week’s PGA Tour stop in the Washington, DC area.

The Australian star was high on the leaderboard the past two times the PGA Tour held an event at TPC Potomac, located in the state of Maryland but only a 30-minute drive from the US capital.

That event was called the Quicken Loans National and was played in the summer month of July, when the Australian ambassador to the US would host an annual dinner and invite Australian golfers and caddies.

“We had some great times with (former ambassadors) Joe Hockey and Kim Beazley; we’d go down in the basement of the Australian embassy and get a tour of the wine cellar,” Leishman told Australian Golf Digest at TPC Potomac on Wednesday. “We’d drink Australian beer and Australian wine with them and share stories. It was great.”

The schedules haven’t lined up to stage that dinner again and the difficult par-70 course at TPC Potomac is only hosting the Wells Fargo Championship due to the fact its usual venue, Quail Hollow in North Carolina, is being prepped to welcome the Presidents Cup in September.

Leishman has good memories at Potomac given he finished tied fifth when at Quicken Loans tournament in 2017 and tied 13th in 2018. The world No.46 said he enjoyed the strategic challenge of the 7,160-yard (6,547m) layout, which has wide fairways but thick rough and plenty of tree trouble.

“I was so close in 2017; I could have picked up so many shots in the final round and that event felt like the one that got away a little bit,” he said.

“I love the golf course; you have to think your way around here especially on the greens; you have to think about where you want to miss it and where you want to putt from to avoid three-putting,” Leishman added, referencing the boldly-contoured greens.

“You’re going to have bogeys arounds here but you can’t lose your cool.”

Leishman was striking his irons superbly and putting the dots off it on Wednesday, shooting a five-under 30 on his own ball in a nine-hole pro-am.

He has been picked by PGA Tour fantasy expert Rob Bolton as the favourite this week in his Power Rankings column. Some of the big names in the field include defending champion Rory McIlroy, who won the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, as well as Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Abraham Ancer.

Leishman finished tied 21st at the recent Zurich Classic teams event in New Orleans with playing partner Cam Smith.

Chasing a seventh career PGA Tour win, Leishman also says good vibes at Potomac come from the fact he lives a three-hour drive away at Virginia Beach, Virginia. Leishman and his family support the Washington Capitals hockey team in the NHL and often drive up for home games.

“I have a lot of friends up here in the DC area and I come to the hockey all the time,” Leishman said. “It’s as close to a home tournament as I’ll get living in Virginia Beach.”

“Plus, my game feels good. I’ve playing well lately even though the results don’t necessarily show that. But I know if I stay patient the results will come,” added Leishman, who finished tied 21st at the Zurich Classic teams event recently with Cam Smith and tied 30th at the Masters. 

Other Australians in the field this week include Cam Davis, Jason Day, Matt Jones, Aaron Baddeley, Brett Drewitt and Cam Percy.