Sentry Tournament of Champions First-Round Leader Tips: Leishman can go low

Marc Leishman has a strong R1 record at the Plantation
Marc Leishman has a strong R1 record at the Plantation

The PGA Tour resumes in Hawaii and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at the Plantation Course...

"With the 38-year-old looking fighting fit, I'm hoping he can show the form he ended the year with. Leishman was the first-round leader in Houston on his latest start and had back-to-back top four finishes in the Fortinet Championship and Shriner's Children's Open."

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Thursday: Sunshine is plentiful on day one with temperatures in the 70s. Tee-times range from 09.40 to 12.45 and there isn't any obvious advantage with winds hovering around 9-13mph all of the golfing day.

Look to Leishman for repeat

While American players have won the last 10 editions, that same dominance hasn't shown up in the first-round leader market.

In the last three years we've had two internationals shooting the lowest score on day one. One of those was Marc Leishman and I'm going to back the Aussie to repeat the trick.

Leishman's 6-under 67 was enough to give him the 18-hole lead in 2018 while he was also fifth after day one in 2019 thanks to a 68.

An opening 69 put him 12th after Thursday's action last year.

With finishes of fourth and seventh in two of his last three appearances, he clearly gets on well with the Plantation Course and should be confident ahead of his return.

It's a guessing game what all the players did over Christmas but from Instagram (nice pic of him with his wife, three children and two dogs) we know he had a relaxing time at home.

"Missing my family and friends," said Leishman, who to my eye appeared as if he'd lost a little weight.

With the 38-year-old looking fighting fit, I'm hoping he can show the form he ended the year with.

Leishman was the first-round leader in Houston on his latest start and had back-to-back top four finishes in the Fortinet Championship and Shriner's Children's Open.

He sits 6th for Putting Average this season and each of the last six Sentry winners ranked in the top two for PA for the week when lifting the trophy so it's an important stat.

Get with Glover

Lucas Glover is considered one of the rags in the field this week as he returns to this event for the first time since 2010.

He punched his ticket via a win in July's John Deere Classic and, to be honest, hasn't done much since.

But I'm hoping he will have benefited from the break and can hit the ground running here.

Glover has finished sixth (2006) and 14th (2010) in his two past starts at the Plantation and in the latter he was the leader after 18, 36 and 54 holes.

While his final finishing positions didn't amount to much at the end of 2021 he did shoot in the 60s on day one at each of his final five events.

I'll play him here at 60/1 to make a big impression in the first round. He heads out with Kevin Na at 10.50am local.

Jump in for Jones

Let's add a second Australian into the staking plan by picking Matt Jones.

For the record, Jones plays with compatriot Lucas Herbert in the 10.30am two-ball while Leishman has fellow Aussie and good buddy Cameron Smith alongside at 11.00am. Maybe that adds just a little confidence.

Jones was 11th here on his one and only start in 2015, opening with a 4-under 69.

But he's no stranger to starting the season in Hawaii and has played plenty of decent golf in the Sony Open where he took 11th last season.

Jones qualified by winning March's Honda Classic and he laid the foundations with a brilliant 61 on day one that gave him the lead.

More recently, he's ended the opening lap in fifth at the Shriners and sixth at the Zozo Championship.

He's worth a punt at 55/1.

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