Marc Leishman on his way to a 68 in Kapalua today. Image: Getty
Marc Leishman was on his way to Hawaii … for a family vacation. With a start in the Sentry tournament of the champions in Kapalua, the Australian immediately made a start with the trip and climbed in the fight during the opening tournament of the US PGA Tour of the Year
Leishman, the world number 20, rolled into a tricky birdie-putt of two meters at the par-five 18th hole to open with a five-under-par 68 today, and finished the first round in fifth place, only two shots of the lead by Kevin Tway of the USA. Two former world number 1 players, Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland, are in the group ahead of him.
He made five birdies and an eagle at the fifth parachute hole when he turned on his second shot to tap, but it could have been so much better if there had been no wrong ride. At par-four seventeenth, his T-battle-shot devoted wide and he ended with a double six.
But Leishman was usually hot on the back nine with birdies on four of the first six holes.
He comes from 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, with a four-under-par 68 and also a big chance up close on the 18th. The highlight of the former world number 1 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 use the flagstick on the left, namely Bryson DeChambeau, a proponent of placing the flag in place, who did it, even up close.
-7 K Tway (US)
-6 G Woodland (USA), J Thomas (USA), D Johnson (USA)
-5 M Leishman (Aus)