Leishman eyes maiden major in 2018

With starts in the four majors already locked up, Marc Leishman believes the added certainty can help him break through to win one in 2018.

Australia's Marc Leishman (file) is hoping for another successful year on the PGA Tour.

Australia's Marc Leishman (file) is hoping for another successful year on the PGA Tour.

Leishman starts his tournament year at this week's Tournament of Champions in Hawaii with the added confidence of being Australia's top-ranked golfer at a career-high world No.12.

Thanks to a stellar 2017, which yielded two US tour wins and well over $US6 million in prizemoney, the 34-year-old Victorian is guaranteed entry to the year's four biggest tournaments for the first time since 2010.

That could make a big difference in his bid for a maiden major title after some near misses in recent years.

"I'm hoping that's the case," said Leishman, who lost in a playoff at the 2015 British Open and tied fourth when Adam Scott won the 2013 Masters.

"It's certainly easier to prepare for them, particularly the Masters.

"When you can start preparing for Augusta earlier in the year, you can get the shots that you need perfected so they can be tested under the pressure of the Masters."

Leishman, who has three top-six finishes from the past four British Opens, has also made breaking into the world top 10 for the first time a goal for 2018.

"Getting into the top 10 would be a big achievement and it's well within reach, so I need to keep doing what I'm doing and not think about it too much," he said.

Helping Leishman's push into the upper echelon of golf are invitations to the PGA Tour's elite events, including this week's no-cut event at Kapalua's Plantation course on Maui.

The 30-man event featuring last season's winners is a world rankings goldmine given the strength of the elite field.

Leishman's last start at Kapalua was in 2013 when he tied for 23rd.

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