Five birdies on the back nine gave the broad-shouldered 29-year-old from Warrnambool the lowest opening-round score from an Australian since Greg Norman broke the tournament record of 63 in 1996.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia joined the Victorian at the top of the leaderboard the end of the day.
He told AAP that his home town supporters may be a bit surprised by his impressive showing.
“They’ll probably be a bit shocked after my last month or two, but it’s probably exciting for them,” he said trying to keep a lid on the magnitude of what he’d done.
“It’s exciting for me. It’s exciting to have this for a country town like Warrnambool. Hopefully they’ll all be excited and up early tomorrow to watch it.
“But I never really got ahead of myself, because I know that this course can bite you pretty quickly.”
Leishman also revealed after the round that he’s on medication for a virus he’s been battling for the past month.
“I’m on antibiotics still now, but feeling a little bit better,” he revealed. “I felt pretty good today, probably the closest to 100 per cent as I have in a couple of months.
“I’d say 90 per cent … but I’m getting there. I have a viral infection and then all the allergies around here.
“I lost a bit of weight, too. But I woke up this morning feeling good and it’s funny when you’ve been sick and then you feel good, you’re like, ‘How good do I feel’ so it was good that it worked out that today was the first day I felt half decent.”
While not a household name around the world, Leishman’s been a superstar at Warrnambool Golf Club for years – he won his first club championship there age 13 when he beat his dad Paul.
Other Aussies in touch at the end of the first day include Adam Scott, who hit a three-under 69 to be tied for 10th and Jason Day, whose 70 leaves him in company the likes of Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood.
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