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Leishman Leads After Day 1 at 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions

January 5, 2018, 7:08 AM HST · Updated January 5, 7:09 AM
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Kapalua’s Plantation Course hosts more than 30 PGA pros at the Sentry Tournament of Champions January 3-7, 2018. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

The 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions tees off with day two of competition at The Plantation Course in Kapalua today.

On Thursday, Australian Marc Leishman shot a first-round 6-under-par 67 and holds a one-shot lead over Brian Harman and Jhonattan Vegas. Others on the leader board include Si Woo Kim, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson.

The toughest hole Thursday was the par-3 eighth, which averaged 3.265. The par-5 fifth hole was the easiest, playing to a 4.382 average.

The first round leader/co-leader has gone on to win four of the first eight events of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season, most recently Patton Kizzire at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.  Since 1983, the first-round leader or co-leader has gone on to win 11 of 32 times at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, most recently by Dustin Johnson (event was shortened to 54 holes due to weather).  Last year, Jimmy Walker led after the first round on his way to a T9 finish.

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Marc Leishman

Australian Marc Leishman, making his second start at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, shot a first-round 67 (-6) and holds a one-shot lead in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Leishman recorded eight birdies against two bogeys, hitting nine of 15 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation.

This is Leishman’s third start of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, recording a playoff loss to Justin Thomas at the inaugural THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES and a T38 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

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Leishman has held the lead/co-lead three previous times on the PGA TOUR, most recently at last year’s BMW Championship, where he won in wire-to-wire fashion. He was tied for the lead following the opening round at the 2013 Masters, finishing T4, and led the field after the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, where he finished third.

In addition to Leishman’s win at the BMW Championship, he earned his way into the Sentry Tournament of Champions with a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational; Leishman has three-career wins. With a sixth-place finish in the final FedExCup standings, the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season was the best of his career.

Brian Harman

Lefty Brian Harman, who won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2017 to qualify for his second Sentry Tournament of Champions, shot a bogey-free, opening-round 68 and is one back of Marc Leishman’s lead. Harman finished T17 in his only other appearance in the tournament in 2015.

Harman is off to a consistent start in 2017-18, with three top-10s and two top-fives in three starts. The 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season was the best of Harman’s career, recording seven top 10s in 30 starts on his way to an 18th-place finish in the FedExCup.

In Harman’s two previous victories, he was T31 after the first round at the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship and T1 at the 2014 John Deere Classic. This is his best standing through the opening 18 holes since he was second at the 2016 BMW Championship, where he eventually finished T13.

Jhonattan Vegas

Jhonattan Vegas opened with a 5-under 68 and is tied for second with Brian Harman at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The round was his career-best at the event, where he finished 27th in 2012 and T30 last year; it was his first round in the 60s at The Plantation Course at Kapalua.

On the heels of a career year for Jhonattan Vegas that saw him win the RBC Canadian Open and finish 23rd in the final FedExCup standings, Vegas is 79th in the FedExCup after making four starts in the season-opening events.

Justin Thomas: Defending champion, and reigning FedExCup champion, Justin Thomas opened with a 2-under 71 and is T12 in his first start since winning THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES.

Si Woo Kim: Last year’s winner of THE PLAYERS Championship, Si Woo Kim, shot a first-round 69 and is two off Leishman’s lead. The Korean finished third at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the season-opening events and is 29th in the FedExCup.

Rickie Fowler: Rickie Fowler, donning a specially designed Hawaiian golf shirt, shot a 4-under 69 in his first start since finishing runner-up at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. In his last action, he won the Hero World Challenge, an unofficial event on the PGA TOUR.

Dustin Johnson: World No. 1 and 2013 Sentry Tournament of Champions winner Dustin Johnson opened with a 4-under 69.

Patton Kizzire: Patton Kizzire, who won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and currently leads the FedExCup standings, is T17 after an opening-round 72.

Ten of the 11 winners of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in the FedExCup era (2007-present) have qualified for the FedExCup finale, the TOUR Championship. The lone exception was Daniel Chopra in 2008.

The 34 players in the field have accounted for 100 PGA TOUR wins, led by Dustin Johnson’s 16 career wins, including his four wins in the 2017 calendar year at the Genesis Open, World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and THE NORTHERN TRUST. He is followed by Jordan Spieth (11), Justin Thomas (7), Jason Dufner (5) and Hideki Matsuyama (5).

There are 14 first-time winners in the field – Ryan Armour, Wesley Bryan, Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Chappell, Austin Cook, Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Hadwin, Patton Kizzire, Grayson Murray, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Smith, Chris Stroud and Hudson Swafford.

There are three past champions of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in the field this week: Thomas (2017), Spieth (2016) and Johnson (2013).

Bogey-free rounds: R1: Brian Harman (68), Ryan Armour (71)

Scoring Averages at the par-73 The Plantation Course:
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1: 35.529 36.382 71.912

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