Marc Leishman has revealed Jarrod Lyle’s decision to begin palliative care as his inspiration behind his swashbuckling first round at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.
Australian world No.19 Leishman hit just four of 14 fairways at the difficult Firestone Country Club but salvaged a remarkable five-under-par 65 to sit three shots behind first round leader Ian Poulter (62).
English star Poulter set the pace at eight under - one shot ahead of Americans Rickie Fowler and Kyle Stanley (63).
Leishman said good mate Lyle, who this week ceased cancer treatment, was on his mind as he salvaged seven birdies and two bogeys despite hitting just 13 greens in regulation.
‘‘A big part of me wants to win it [for Lyle],’’ Leishman said.
‘‘It would be great to have a beer out of that trophy for him at the end of the week.’’
Former world No.1 Jason Day matched countryman Leishman’s 65 and says he is also hungry to lift the trophy for former US Tour player Lyle.
‘‘To have that platform to dedicate it to him would be special, but we have to put ourselves in position to pull that off,’’ Day said.
With competitors sporting yellow ribbons on day one at Firestone in support of Lyle, Scott was buoyed by talk in the locker-room that US Tour players are planning to rally hard to look after the Lyle family long-term.
‘‘I think we’ve all got him on our minds for sure and in fairness, it’s not just the Aussie boys,’’ Scott said.
‘‘Everyone was talking about him this morning and what they’re trying to do for him and his family, which is so nice because he’s touched everyone out here.’’
On the course, Day played with eight-time WGC-Bridgestone champion Tiger Woods, who fulfilled his end of the marquee pairing with a tidy 66, leaving him at four under.
Adam Scott was next best of the Australians at two under, having mixed five birdies with three bogeys, but the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone winner is confident of climbing up the leaderboard on day two.
‘‘It was there for the taking today, but a couple of missed fairways cost me a few bogeys,’’ Scott said.
‘‘I putted well and if I can tighten up the driver, there are certainly good rounds out there for me.’’
South Australian Wade Ormsby was one-under after a 69, while compatriot Cameron Smith signed for an even-par 70.