Marc Leishman in the mix.
Marc Leishman in the mix.Source: AFP

Marc Leishman and Jason Day have survived scorecard blowouts that would make weekend golfers blush to be well placed at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Leishman and former world No.1 Day each racked up triple bogeys during the second round that could have derailed their hopes at continuing Australian success at the winners-only event on Maui.

But Leishman steadied the ship to post a three-under-par 70 at Kapalua’s Plantation course to sit at eight under and four shots off 36-hole leader Gary Woodland (67).

The big-hitting Woodland rattled off eight birdies — including five consecutive from the 11th hole — and two bogeys to climb to 12 under and three shots ahead of four-time major winner Rory McIlroy (68), Bryson DeChambeau (68) and Kevin Tway (71).

Aussies start fast in Hawaii

Aussies start fast in Hawaii

1:41

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It does not get any better than this!!! #pure

A post shared by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman) on

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“The Shark” is involved with a monthly US radio slot called Attack Life Radio with Greg Norman, and he has lived that motto through life since his earliest speed fetish with Ferraris and skipping afternoons at school to surf at Noosa Heads.

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“There is something so clean and crisp about the Sunshine Coast… I love my time there,” Norman said.

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“Would that be a part of the world I’d stick a tent pole down… time will tell on that.”

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Norman, 63, posted one Christmas Eve photo of a pristine coastline vista with the tag: “It does not get any better than this!!! #pure”

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Other hashtags such as #special and #cathartic dotted Norman’s posts on beautiful sunrises and bare-chested coastal stair climbs, while wife Kirsten posted a cosy Instagram photo of the loved-up couple on the sand at Sunshine Beach.

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Norman also shared his new year’s wish for the world on his social media accounts: “Let’s all make 2019 & beyond the start of a new journey one where WE ALL make the world a better place with halcyon days full of health, happiness, love & success. #attacklife”

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Moving back to Australia will have to wait for now.

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The Normans would be the latest entrants on The Block if there was ever a category for makeovers of oceanside properties worth $70 million-plus.

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Norman and Kirsten, a passionate interior designer, are fully immersed in completing the rebuild of their mansion in Florida, where Norman is hands-on dealing with the subcontractors himself, having created more than 100 golf courses worldwide.

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“My wife is a fantastic interior designer, an incredible space planner, so we got involved with an architect to do our own build which has been so rewarding,” Norman said.

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Dustin Johnson has vowed to contend in golf’s major championships this year after admitting his lacklustre performance in the four big events soured an otherwise brilliant 2018.

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Johnson arrives at this week’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii as defending champion, having kicked off last year with an utterly dominant eight-shot victory in severe winds.

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The former world No.1 went on to win the St Jude Classic and Canadian Open before finishing the 2018 US PGA Tour season with more than $US8 million ($A11 million) in prize money.

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But 34-year-old Johnson lamented his results at the majors, with his only genuine chance at victory coming during a third placing at the US Open.

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“I feel like I had a good year, but I would like to have had a little better performance in the majors; I just didn’t contend,” Johnson said on Wednesday at Kapalua’s Plantation course on Maui.

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Johnson turns his attention to the Tournament of Champions – starting Friday (AEDT) – where he will attempt to win a third title.

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Doing so would equal Australia’s Stuart Appleby for most victories since the event moved to Maui in 1999.

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Set on the slopes of the west Maui mountains, the 7,500-yard Kapalua course has typically favoured big hitters – especially when Maui’s infamous Kona winds blow.

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Johnson said that wouldn’t change this week with conditions the softest he had ever seen.

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“The golf course is playing a lot longer this year just because it’s so soft, the ball’s not rolling at all,” he said.

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Fellow big bomber Rory McIlroy agreed, although the four-time major winner is making his Kapalua debut this week.

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“I’ve watched a lot of it on TV over the years; with wide fairways, length is probably a big factor here,” McIlroy said.

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“I can see why the scores have been low.”

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However, Patrick Reed – the 2015 champion – insisted shorter hitters such as himself still have a fighting chance.

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Reed said creativity was more important around the severely undulating Kapalua and likened it to Augusta National, where Reed captured last year’s Masters title.

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“With how slopey the greens are at Kapalua, how much the wind blows and the sidehill lies, I feel like it taps into the creativitythat you need to play … just like Augusta,” Reed said.

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The Tournament of Champions is an elite, no-cut event for winners from the previous year on the PGA Tour and will feature 34 players this week. It has a purse of $US6.5m ($A9.3m), with $US1.3m ($A1.9m) given to the winner and $US62,000 ($A88,750) to last place.

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– AAP

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