Jordan Spieth sets Augusta alight with stunning 64

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American takes charge after scintillating opening round

Jordan Spieth took charge of the 79th Masters Tournament with a blistering opening round 64.

The 21-year-old American fired nine birdies as he opened up a three-shot lead at Augusta National.

There were elements of fortune along the way but Speith was able to make the most of every ounce of luck which came his way.

A hat-trick of birdies on 8, 9 and 10 gave him a share of the lead on -5 and for a while it looked like he could do no wrong.

The Texan looked unhappy with his tee shot on 12 and less impressed with the birdie putt but it dropped into the hole as he walked after it quickly.

A wayward drive on 13 kicked off a tree and onto the fairway but he was able to lay-up then get up and down for an unlikely birdie.

The following hole another drive was sent to the right but he somehow fired it out off the rough and managed to strike the flag, leaving a tap in to pick up another shot.

A rare three-putt resulted in a dropped shot on 15 and chances of a Major record-breaking 62 fizzled out – but he still wasn’t finished.

A fantastic birdie on 18 was a fitting way to end one of the great Augusta rounds.

It sounds silly but it could have been better. And if Spieth was in any way disappointed with a 64 then the rest of the field are in trouble.

“The greens were a bit softer and slower which allowed us to fire at a few pins,” he said

“At 15 was the only mistake, I got a mud ball and was between clubs so hit a hybrid when really it was just a solid 4-iron.

“I’m as confident now as I have been the past few weeks This year so far has all be about preparing for this week.

“There’s a lot of great names who are not going to go away so I need to keep my head down and stay patient.” 
There was rarely a dull moment in Tiger Woods’ first round in over two months" World number one Rory McIlroy was reasonably satisfied with his opening 71 but all of a sudden he has a lot of work to do to clinch the career grand slam.

“Anything under par is a decent score,” McIlroy said. 

“If I can drive the ball the way I did today, I should be OK.”

There was rarely a dull moment in Tiger Woods’ first round in over two months.

The world number 111 put doubts about his short game to bed but was erratic and unconvincing as he carded a one over 73. 

Australia’s Jason Day put on a back nine charge to reach -6 but bogeyed 17 and had to settle for a place among the chasing pack.

American Charley Hoffman was the early clubhouse leader carding a 67 and was later joined by England’s Justin Rose. Ernie Els made it to -6 but dropped a shot at the last to also finish on five under.

“I felt like I’ve been practising well the past two or three weeks, but it was nice to take it into the arena today,” said Rose who has never missed the cut at Augusta.

Tom Watson, aged 65, became the oldest player to shoot under par at The Masters with a 71 and will look to break Ben Crenshaw’s record as the oldest to make the cut.

“It’s fun to be able to at least be in red figures at Augusta National,” Watson said.

“At my age, it’s a minor miracle.”

Full leaderboard details can be found here.

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