Akron, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Marc Leishman fired a 6-under 64 on Thursday and grabbed a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Leishman, the 2012 Travelers Championship winner, missed the cut at the Greenbrier, but has two top-10 finishes in his last three starts.
Ryan Moore posted a 5-under 65 and was joined in second place by a pair of former major champions Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel.
Rickie Fowler headlines a group of four players at minus-3. He stands alongside Francesco Molinari, Graham DeLaet and Patrick Reed.
Defending champion Tiger Woods scrambled to a 2-under 68 at Firestone Country Club. He is tied for ninth place with Sergio Garcia, Jamie Donaldson, Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley.
Woods opened with a 3-putt bogey from 10 feet out on the first, but answered with a birdie on No. 2. He dropped another shot on the fourth and responded with birdies on five and six from 18 and 10 feet out, respectively.
The eight-time winner of this event nearly holed his approach at eight and kicked that in for a birdie. Woods drove into the trees right of the ninth fairway and hit a tree with his second.
Woods hacked his third over the green and that led to a double-bogey as he made the turn at even-par.
At the 10th, Woods drained a 7-footer for birdie, then he parred five in a row. He converted a 22-foot birdie try at 16 to get to minus-2 and Woods parred the final two holes.
"I hit a lot of good shots today. I hit a few not so solid, but I kind of got it around a little bit and every time I dropped a shot, I got it right back," said Woods. "Bouncing back like that was nice. I just have to keep the ball in play and keep making birdies out there."
Leishman birdied the 10th to start his round, then stuck his second at the par-4 13th to a foot and tapped in for his second birdie. He followed birdies on 16 and 17 with a bogey at the 18th.
The Australian moved back to 4-under with a 2-putt birdie on the par-5 second. After a birdie on the fourth, Leishman knocked in a 2-footer for birdie on the sixth to grab the lead.
That was short-lived as he bogeyed the seventh. Leishman bounced back with a 9-foot birdie effort on No. 8 to get back to 6-under and the lead. He parred the ninth, his last, to end there.
"I'm really happy with the start. I drove the ball pretty good for the most part. Irons and wedges were really good today. I gave myself some really makeable birdie putts, and was able to make them," Leishman said. "I've been playing pretty good for a while. It's just a matter of putting the numbers on the board. Think it's just the putting. Making the putts, which hopefully I can keep doing."
Moore played the back nine first and posted one birdie and eight pars, while he poured in four more birdies and five pars on the front nine to close out a bogey-free round.
Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, also had five birdies in a bogey-free round. The Englishman flew into a share of second with three birdies in his final four holes.
Schwartzel opened his round with a birdie on the 10th, but he followed with eight pars in a row. The 2011 Masters winner stumbled to a bogey on the first, his 10th.
The South African came right back with a birdie on the second. He poured in four consecutive birdies from the fourth to soar into second place. Schwartzel remained tied for second as he closed with a pair of pars.
NOTES: Leishman, who tied for fifth at the Open Championship, has the 18-hole lead for the second time in his career, with the first coming at the 2013 Masters ... Moore leads the PGA Tour in first round scoring average at 68.72 ... Open Championship winner Rory McIlroy, Masters champion Bubba Watson and world No. 1 Adam Scott all opened with 69s, while U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer struggled to 7-over 77 ... McIlroy and Scott could take over the top spot in the world rankings with a win ... Phil Mickelson managed a 1-over 71 and is tied for 35th.