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The Journal Gazette

Friday, January 05, 2018 1:00 am


Leishman leads on windy day

DOUG FERGUSON | Associated Press

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Marc Leishman is having a much better time at Kapalua this year, on and off the golf course.

Leishman, coming off his best year with two PGA Tour victories that helped him become the highest-ranked player from Australia, made eight birdies in a strong wind Thursday on the Plantation Course for a 6-under 67 and a one-shot lead over Brian Harman and Jhonattan Vegas at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Only six players broke 70 in the opening round, a product of trade winds strong enough to cause players to back off putts.

Leishman thought he hit his tee shot out-of-bounds on the 14th hole, but he wound up in someone's backyard, and it wasn't out-of-bounds. What he figured would be a double bogey off the tee became a par.

“Best break I've had all year,” Leishman said after the first round of 2018.

Rickie Fowler sent his approach to the 13th into the waist-high native grass, found it and took two hacks to get it onto the green, making double bogey. He bounced back with a pair of birdies and an eagle for a 69.

Dustin Johnson and Si Woo Kim also were at 69.

Defending champion Justin Thomas shot a 71.