Marc Leishman says a long par putt he drained on the last hole will ease the pressure on his round two chase of the leaders at the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship.
Leishman was hot throughout his first round at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut and ensured he finished just two shots off the pace, having buried a 27-foot par putt on the 18th.
World No.23 Leishman signed for a four-under-par 66, while Australian Open champion Abraham Ancer, from Mexico, was among six players who shot 64 to top the leaderboard at six under.
"It's nice when you can hole a putt like that. You can (start the round two chase) that little bit quicker," Leishman said.
"I thought I drove it really well; the best I've driven it in a long time," Leishman said.
"That gave me chances going into the greens. You can attack flags from the fairway.
"I (also) putted great; I made a really good putt on (the 9th) for par and then that really good putt on 18.
"You always feel you could have been one or two (strokes) better, but overall, I'm happy with the score."
Leishman enjoyed a solid day of ball-striking, finding 12 of 14 fairways from the tee and 12 of 18 greens in regulation.
The 2012 Travelers winner is confident he can climb the leaderboard on day two at the 6,255-metre TPC River Highlands.
"It's a fun golf course and it's in unbelievable condition; hopefully the sun comes out and can dry it out," he said.
Talented Norwegian youngster Viktor Hovland, who has employed veteran Australia caddie Shay Knight, made a solid start to his professional debut with a three-under 67.
Hovland was the low amateur at last week's US Open at Pebble Beach, where he broke a 59-year-old record held by Jack Nicklaus for the lowest ever 72-hole score by an amateur in the championship.
After Leishman, Matt Jones (69) was next best of the Australians at one under, while Jason Day threatened to go low but eventually signed for a 70.
Former World No.1 Day is joined at even par by fellow Australians Curtis Luck, Cameron Davis and Aaron Baddeley.
Queenslanders Cameron Smith (71) and Rod Pampling (72) finished the round over par.
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press