Australia’s Marc Leishman shot a 6-under round of 67 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead over Brian Harman and Johnattan Vegas after the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions Hawaii.
Leishman birdied the opening hole on the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Maui, and rolled in four more birdies against a lone bogey to make the turn in 4-under 32. He missed in three more birdies against a bogey on the back nine.
Leishman, 34, continued his strong play from the fall, when he won the BMW Championship. He has four top-four finishes in his past six starts.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Si Woo Kim are another shot off the pace at 4-under. Johnson had an eagle and three birdies against a lone bogey, while Fowler had a far more adventurous round. After carding three birdies on the front nine, he bogeyed No. 11 and double-bogeyed No. 13 before recovering with a pair of birdies and closing with an eagle on No. 18.
Fowler converted a 22-foot putt to punctuate his opening round.
“Nice to finish off the round after a little hiccup,” he said after the round.
For eagle, at the last …
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 5, 2018
The 34-player field is reserved for winners on the PGA Tour in the previous calendar year. Jordan Spieth, who entered the week ranked No. 2 in and has a win and a third-place finish in this event over the past two years, is tied for 30th after carding an opening-round 75. He had two birdies and five bogeys on his round.
Good friend and defending champion Justin Thomas, who is ranked No. 3 and coming off 2017 player of the year honors, fared much better with a 2-under 71. He was 2-under through six holes, then bogeyed three of his next seven holes before reeling off three birdies in a four-hole stretch.
Also at 2-under is fourth-ranked Jon Rahm and Ryan Armour, who at 41 is the oldest player in the field. No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama is a shot better at 3-under.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is last in the field after shooting a 5-over 78. He opened with three bogies and a double-bogey in his first four holes and then played the final 14 holes in even par.
–By Derek Harper, Field Level Media