Woods, who won the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2002, is seeking his fifth straight title at this elite event that features the winners of the four major championships during the calendar year. Leonard and Davis Love III were added to the field because Woods won two majors and Ernie Els, the British Open champion, is not competing.
Woods got started with a 30-foot eagle at the par-5 second on the Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course. The top player in the world then knocked his approach to four feet for birdie at the fourth and drove the green at the par-4 fifth.
The 26-year-old left his eagle putt short and missed his birdie try right, but he responded with fervor and back-to-back birdies starting at the sixth to move to 5-under.
'The front nine is going to be the easier nine going out because it's downwind, and you have got to take advantage of those holes,' said Woods. 'I really did that.'
Leonard reached minus-4 with a birdie at the 11th but Woods padded his advantage with a seven-foot birdie at the par-5 14th en route to a bogey-free round.
'I thought I hit it really well,' said Woods. 'Didn't quite hit it as good on the back nine. But I putted well all day. I hit a lot of good, solid putts.'
At the par-3 17th, Leonard sent a 2-iron into a bunker for his first bogey of the day and a 3-under 69.
'It's disappointing. I don't know how to quantify that,' said Leonard. 'I think I'm disappointed in not taking more advantage of the opportunities that I had. You know, it's disappointing not to be any closer, not to have shot a better score.'
Love collected three birdies on the front side but struggled around the turn with four bogeys and a birdie on the inward half for an even-par 72.
'I didn't hit good wedge shots today and that's all there is to it,' said Love. 'I drove it pretty good starting out and then drove it in the rough coming in. I was getting it farther and farther from the hole. So it's a little disappointing to not get a better score out of it. It was my wedge game that cost me a lot of strokes.'
Rich Beem, the winner of the PGA Championship, finished alongside Love in a tie for third. Beem moved to 1-under with a birdie at the 14th but dropped a shot at the 16th to finish six shots off the lead.