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Leishman chasing Masters berth in Hawaii

AAP logoAAP 11/01/2017 Evin Priest

A prized invite to the US Masters is a source of motivation for Australian Marc Leishman to lift the trophy at this week's Sony Open in Hawaii.

The second US PGA Tour event for 2017 - starting Friday (AEDT) - is headlined by last week's Tournament of Champions winner Justin Thomas, world No.5 Jordan Spieth and No.6 Hideki Matsuyama.

Currently ranked No.56, Leishman has yet to secure a Masters berth - where his best finish is a tie for fourth in 2013 behind champion Adam Scott.

The 33-year-old is hoping to change that at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

"Yeah, it's in the back of my mind for sure," said Leishman.

"You want to be at Augusta in April, so you do think about it a little bit it.

"It definitely motivates you to try and get back there, especially when you've played well before."

Leishman is also scheduled to play at Torrey Pines, the Phoenix Open and at Riviera Country Club in coming weeks as he attempts to boost his ranking.

The Victorian has never finished outside the top 40 in seven starts at Waialae, with his best finishes including lone fifth place in 2014 and a share of ninth in 2013.

"I've played pretty well here; I've had a few good finishes but I'd like to improve on that and hold the trophy up at the end of the week.

"It's a great spot to start the year off and the game's feeling good."

Leishman is also buoyed by the fact his wife Audrey is pregant with the couple's third child and is eager to add to his lone US PGA Tour title at the Travelers Championship in 2012.

"Audrey is about 14 weeks along, so that's exciting," said Leishman.

"So I need to try and play well as kids aren't cheap.

"My family is here this week and they've never been there when I've won a tournament, so that's a motivating factor.

"It'd be nice to be that guy who has his kids running out to him on the 18th green."

Leishman is joined by six other Australians in the field - Rod Pampling, John Senden, Greg Chalmers, Steven Bowditch, Cameron Smith and Cameron Percy.

Eleven major championship winners are also present, including multiple major winners Vijay Singh (three), Zach Johnson (two) and Spieth (two).

The Sony Open is the second leg of the US PGA Tour's Hawaiian swing and has a winner's prize of $US 1.08 million.

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