Fresh off a tie for fifth at The Open Championship, Australia’s Marc Leishman finds himself at the top of the leaderboard after one round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational thanks to his 6-under 64 on Thursday.
Leishman leads a Top 10 that includes some of the biggest names in the sport, while he himself, the 2009 PGA Rookie of the Year, has just one PGA title to his credit so far.
Leishman was 3-under on both the front and back nines, exchanging four birdies for one bogey on both sets to lead American Ryan Moore, South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel and England’s Justin Rose by one stroke each.
Rose has just one win on the year, the Quicken Loans National back in late January. The 2013 US Open champion played a bogey-free round on Thursday.
Americans Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, along with Italy’s Francesco Molinari and Canada’s Graham DeLaet are tied for fifth at 3-under.
Five more players are tied for ninth, including a man who’s no stranger to the top of the leaderboard in Akron – Tiger Woods.
Woods’ 2-under 68 was his best score since coming back from surgery earlier this year. The 8-time Bridgestone champion was +1 through four holes, then notched three birdies in a four-hole stretch before double bogeying No. 9 to hit the turn at even par. He added birdies on No. 10 and 16. He’s tied with Americans Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Wales’ Jamie Donaldson.
The Open Championship winner Rory McIlroy, in action for the first time since then, is tied for 14th at 1-under. Also in that group are Miguel Jimenez, Jimmy Walker, Jim Furyk, No. 1 Adam Scott, and Masters winner Bubba Watson.
Last year’s PGA Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth is tied for 35th after firing a 1-under, as did Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson.
US Open champion Martin Kaymer had one of the worst rounds of the day, a 7-over 77 that did not include a single birdie as he sits 74th out of 76 players.