PGA Tour

Leishman leads Tournament of Champions

Marc Leishman (Getty)
Marc Leishman (Getty)

Los Angeles - Australia's Marc Leishman fired eight birdies in a six-under par 67 on Thursday to seize a one-stroke lead in the US PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. 

Leishman strung together four birdies in a row from the seventh through the 10th holes on the par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua on Maui. 

He rolled in a 19-foot birdie putt at the 17th to take sole possession of the lead, with American Brian Harman and Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas sharing second on 68. 

It was a further stroke back to world number one Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and South Korean Kim Si-Woo on 69. 

"Pretty solid," Leishman said of his round in the first USPGA Tour event of the calendar year, which features a 34-player field made up of last season's tournament winners. 

"I played well, drove the ball pretty well - with the exception of a couple of drives - and the putter was really, really solid. 

"So, happy with eight birdies," added Leishman after a day that saw strong winds buffet some of the bigger names in the field. 

Defending champion Justin Thomas, whose victory here last year marked the start of a five-win season that included his first major title and the FedEx Cup playoff crown, carded a one-under par 71. 

British Open champion Jordan Spieth struggled to a two-over par 75. 

Fowler eagled the final hole as he bounced back from a double-bogey at the 13th, and Johnson eagled the par-five 18th to seize his share of fourth place.

Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii (USA unless noted, par-73):

67 - Marc Leishman (AUS)

68 - Brian Harman, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN)

69 - Kim Si-Woo (KOR), Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson

70 - Billy Horschel, Patrick Cantlay, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Kisner, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN)

71 - Ryan Armour, Brendan Steele, Jason Dufner, Jon Rahm (ESP), Justin Thomas

72 - Patton Kizzire, Chris Stroud, Hudson Swafford, Pat Perez, Xander Schauffele

73 - Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Hadwin (CAN), Daniel Berger

74 - Austin Cook, Grayson Murray, Wesley Bryan, Kevin Chappell, Russell Henley

75 - Cameron Smith (AUS), Jordan Spieth

76 - D.A. Points

77 Jonas Blixt (SWE)

78 - Brooks Koepka

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