Aussies Marc Leishman and Jason Day go low to grab the QBE Shootout first round lead

The best stats, quotes and social after the first day of the PGA Tour’s final event of the year.

In different ways, Marc Leishman and Jason Day are attempting to complete doubles this week at the QBE Shootout - and their bid got off to a strong start with a first round of 16-under-par 56 for a one shot first round lead.

Victory on Sunday would see Leishman complete a clean sweep of the PGA Tour's pairs events after he won May's Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Cameron Smith.

That week was a triumph for Aussie mateship and now he's got a second chance with compatriot Day, who is chasing a second win in the event having lifted the trophy with Cameron Tringale seven years ago.

The pair carved 12 birdies and two eagles in their opening lap, which fell one shot short of tying the course record in the Scramble format. They lead two pairings by one shot - Corey Conners/Graeme McDowell and the defending champions Harris English/Matt Kuchar.

That quartet are two blows clear of Jason Kokrak/Kevin Na and Bubba Watson/Lexi Thompson in a share of fourth. All 12 teams are within six shots of the lead.

Leishman was happy with the start his team made. "We combined really well," he said. "I drove it reasonably well most of the day, but when I was off the fairway Jason hit good tee shots. We get along very well and it was nice to get off to a good start in this sort of event."

Day was effusive about his fellow Aussie. "Leish is so good in a team environment," he said. "Obviously him and Cammy Smith won at the Zurich and now here.

"It's an individual sport, but I think he thrives really well in a team environment, so it's nice to be able to have someone like that as a partner this week.

"I love the way he drives the ball, but I think the biggest thing for Leish is that he's pretty much an all-around player. He keeps it out in front of him, hits a lot of good quality iron shots pin high, doesn't get himself into too much trouble, has a tremendous short game and he's always been a good putter.

"It's really impressive. I was able to sit back and watch. Everywhere he aimed it, it was just a perfect roll every single time."

In the second round the tournament utilises greensomes, but Leishman was keeping the strategy simple. "Doesn't matter what the format is, you've just got to play well and make the putts," he insisted.

Let's take a look at the tournament stats, what the other teams had to say, and the best of the social.


17 of the last 20 winners of the QBE Shootout were tied third or better after 18 holes, and 10 of those winners were already in the lead or sharing it after the first round.

That's great new for the current top three, but it's not quite so clear cut.

Why so? Well those three exceptions all claimed success in the last six year: back in 2015 Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker were T11th, and the last two winning combinations were tied fifth at this stage.

If you look at shots off the lead, however, the long list of potential winners becomes a short list.

16 of the last 20 winners was leading or within one shot of top spot - and all 20 were within three shots.

If that latter trend continues, the partnerships currently outside the top five are toast.

The defending champions English and Kuchar are in second, so the stats like them, and they have a formidable record in the event: six starts, three wins, twice second. They've got a great chance of making it four wins this weekend.

Matt Kuchar and Harris English

Kuchar: "Felt like last year all over again. This place, I think it's special to both Harris and I. I think you get used to making birdies and as the day goes on you just kind of keep it going. (Greensomes) the most challenging of all the formats. It's the one that kind of separates the teams that really have it going and teams that don't have it going."

English: "It's a lot easier playing with Matt because he really doesn't have any weaknesses. I felt like I can still be aggressive because he's got one of the best short games, he's a great putter. I feel, like you said, it frees me up to play my own game and be aggressive."

Graeme McDowell and Corey Conners

McDowell: "We ham-and-egged well. I had some nice wedge shots, I putted well early. Corey putted fantastic on the back."

Conners: "I tried not to change my strategy from what I normally do, but it definitely provides an extra level of comfort knowing that I've got him backing me up. No real secrets (to greensomes), do what we did today, try and get two balls down the fairway. Can't really try and force things. You can't play scared or play conservative."

Bubba Watson and Lexi Thompson

Watson: "She played amazing. Couldn't ask for a better partner. She made some key putts. It was funny, we weren't sure of the rules. She made five putts in a row so I didn't get to putt for a few holes. I didn't have my best. There was a couple shots I had some loose shots, but she kept it together."

Thompson: "I'll just try to get one in the fairway (tomorrow) and then he can just send it, that's the goal. Besides that, we're both playing the course the way we would naturally, so I'm just going to try to get it in the fairway and then he can do whatever he wants aggressively wise."

Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na

Kokrak: "I had a great cheerleader."

Na: "I did a great cheer. I hit one in play, he hit one out there and the second shot, I hit it way left and he hits one on there like seven feet. I said, 'I set you up perfect, I had to apply the pressure to you so you had to hit the perfect shot.'"


Kevin Na walking one in.

Kuch sneaked one in the side.

Lexi Thompson chasing sticks.

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