Leishman leads bold Aussie US Open charge

MARC Leishman has launched himself into contention midway through the first round of the US Open at Pebble Beach in California.

Leishman carded a two-under-par 69 to sit just three strokes behind clubhouse co-leader Rickie Fowler.

Fowler mixed six birdies with a bogey during a 66 and at five-under-par is currently tied atop the leaderboard with Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen.

American Scott Piercy (67) is a stroke further behind at four under, while 2011 US Open winner Rory McIlroy is at three under courtesy of a solid 68.

Jason Day is not far off the pace.
Jason Day is not far off the pace.

Leishman started on the 10th hole playing with four-time major winner McIlroy and Spain's Jon Rahm but the Aussie world No.21 got off to a shocking start.

He bogeyed two of his first three holes but bounced back with two birdies to make the turn at even par.

Leishman rattled off another three birdies but a bogey at the par-4 ninth (his 18th) relegated him a shot to two under.

Leishman is the leading Australian from the morning groups, with Jason Day posting a one-under 70 and Cameron Smith an even-par 71.

Aussie qualifier Marcus Fraser dropped two shots during a 73. Fraser's countrymen Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones and Brett Drewitt will begin their first rounds in the afternoon wave.