Here is a recap of the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii.
LEADING: Marc Leishman posts eight birdies on Thursday at Kapalua to open in 6-under 67. That’s good enough for a one-shot lead through 18 holes. The Aussie opened with a birdie at the first, but a bogey at the third stalled him. Then he went on a tear: birdies at the fifth and three straight from Nos. 7-9 boosted him to a 4-under 32. He birdied the 10th, bogeyed the 11th, then birdied 15 and 17 to move to 6 under, where he would finish.
Leishman’s start continues a trend of hot play. The 34-year-old won the BMW Championship in the fall and overall boasts four top-4 finishes in his last six starts. He only has one previous start at Kapalua (a lackluster T-23), but clearly his form is taking over through 18 holes. This wouldn’t be Leishman’s biggest PGA Tour win, but obviously earning No. 4 would be pretty sweet.
CHASING: Brian Harman and Jhonattan Vegas both fired 5-under 68s to find themselves tied for second. Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Si Woo Kim are tied for fourth at 4 under. Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Kisner, Billy Horschel and Kyle Stanley are tied for seventh at 3 under.
SHOT OF THE DAY: Fowler needed a late surge after a double bogey at 13, but he got it in style. He played his final five holes in 4 under to put himself in early contention. It was perfectly punctuated by this 22-foot eagle putt at the 18th.
SHORT SHOTS: Justin Thomas, the defending champion, birdies 16 and 17 to post a 2-under 71. He sits T-12. … Jon Rahm is also at 2 under after an up-and-down day that included an eagle and four birdies. … Jordan Spieth struggles on Thursday, posting four bogeys on his way to a 2-over 75. He is tied for 30th in the 34-man field.