Golf Australia

Leish, Day contend in Hawaii

Marc Leishman
Marc Leishman on his way to a 68 at Kapalua today. Image: Getty

Marc Leishman was heading to Hawaii anyway … for a family holiday. Earning a start in the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua resort, the Australian promptly capitalised on the trip, soaring into contention in the opening US PGA Tour tournament of the year.

Leishman, the world No. 20, rolled in a tricky birdie putt from two metres at the par-five 18th hole to open with a five-under par 68 today, finishing the first round in fifth place, just two shots from the lead held by Kevin Tway of the US. Two former world No. 1 players, Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland, are in the group ahead of him.

He made five birdies and an eagle at the par-five fifth hole when he hit his second shot to tap-in range, but it could have been so much better had it not been for one errant drive. At the par-four 17th his tee shot flared wide right and he ended up with a double bogey six.

But Leishman was mostly hot on the back nine with birdies at four of the first six holes.

He is coming off a good year in America, where he won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and was runner-up (with Cameron Smith) in the World Cup of Golf at Metropolitan.

Jason Day also started nicely today, carding a four-under par 68 as well and missing a great chance from close range at the 18th. The former world No. 1’s high point was a brilliant chip-in from behind the fourth green for birdie.

It was the first tournament day where the players experienced the new rules introduced by the R & A and the USGA, with a few players choosing to putt with the flagstick left in, notably Bryson DeChambeau, an advocate of putting with the flag in place, who did it even from close range.

LEADERS

-7 K Tway (USA)

-6 G Woodland (USA), J  Thomas (USA), D Johnson (USA)

-5 M Leishman (Aus)


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