Defending Masters Champion Jordan Spieth showed no signs of nerves during the first round at Augusta, with a stunning 6-under-par round of 66 to lead by two in what were tough conditions.
Spieth started his round with an early birdie at the 3rd hole, and backed that up with two more at the 6th & 9th. A front-nine 33 was just what Spieth would have wanted, with heavy gusts forecast for the afternoon starters. He carried on his good form with three more birdies on the back-nine, at 10, 13 & 18.
Danny Lee and Shane Lowry are just two shots back though, after carding rounds of 4-under-par 68.
New world number one Jason Day started like a house on fire, and after nine holes the Aussie was 5-under-par and just one shot back from Spieth with the most difficult nine holes out of the way. However, a bogey on the 10th hole was then followed by a 3-putt bogey on the par-5 15th hole. Day then carelessly found the water at the par-3 16th and three putts later, was recording a triple bogey. A bogey at 17 and a par on the final hole meant Day finished on level par, and six shots behind Jordan Spieth.
Rory McIlroy was another man not going to let Spieth run away with it. The Northern Irishman and 4-time Major Champion found himself 4-under par after an eagle at the 13th and a two-putt birdie at 15. A sloppy finish though proved costly, and bogeys at 16 and 18 left McIlroy at 2-under-par and four shots back.
It was a good day for the Brits, with Justin Rose, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter all signing for rounds of 3-under-par, 69. Danny Willett bogeyed the final hole, but will start round two on two-under-par and just four shots off the lead.
Elsewhere on the course it wasn’t a good day for Ernie Els, who started his round with six putts on the first green, and found himself 5-over-par on the second tee. He finished his round on 8-over-par, as did debutant Andy Sullivan.
Other selected scores:
Phil Mickelson: E
Bubba Watson: +3
Adam Scott: +4
Rickie Fowler: +8
Charl Schwartzel: +4