Leishman swings into 2014 in style

WARRNAMBOOL golfer Marc Leishman has launched into a new year of golf with a top-10 finish.

Leishman, 30, placed fifth in his first tournament for the calendar year, the $US5.6 million ($A6.2m) US PGA Tour event in Hawaii.

The right-hander carded a 13-under-par 267 for the four rounds at Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, to be four shots off the pace.

His final round of 65 was highlighted by eight birdies on the last 12 holes as he recovered from a disappointing start.

Leishman also went eagle, birdie, birdie midway through round two and eagled the par-five ninth in rounds two and three.

American Jimmy Walker won the tournament at 17 under. His bogey-free 63 in the final round allowed him to surge up the leaderboard.

Leishman, speaking from Honolulu yesterday afternoon (AEDT) said he was pleased with how he struck the ball.

The result was the second time in two years he has scored a top-10 finish in the tournament, having placed ninth in 2013.

“I hit it pretty well. Yesterday (Saturday) didn’t go quite as planned and the first few holes today weren’t what I was after, two over after four holes,” he said.

“Apart from that it was pretty good. I finished off the tournament really well. I had eight birdies in the last 14 holes today, that was a pleasing thing.”

Leishman said the result proved he could recover from well back to figure prominently at the finish — an impressive trait which is becoming of his game.

“It’s a long day and if you throw in the towel after a few holes it’s going to be even longer. You never know what can happen,” he said.

The US PGA Tour started in October and Leishman contested the first two events, with limited success.

He returned home to see family in November, playing in the Australian PGA Championship and the Australian Masters during his trip.

But after jetting back to the States, he opted against playing the last two US PGA Tour events of 2013.

“A lot of that time I didn’t touch a golf club, which was nice. I’m nice and fresh now,” he said.

“This week went a little better than planned, with having seven weeks away from the clubs. A break is good for you sometimes.”

Leishman, who is based at Virginia Beach, will criss-cross the US during the next month as he eyes greater success. His next two assignments are in La Quinta and La Jolla, California.

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