Australia's Marc Leishman leads PGA Tournament of Champions - Emirates24|7

Australia's Marc Leishman leads PGA Tournament of Champions

Photo: AFP/Getty

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.

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