Masters 2013: Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman share lead
Masters - first-round leaderboard (US unless stated)
- -6: M Leishman (Aus), S Garcia (Spa)
- -5: D Johnson
- -4: D Lynn (Eng), R Fowler, G Fernandez-Castano (Spa), T Immelman (SA), F Couples, M Kuchar
- -3: J Furyk, Z Johnson, A Scott (Aus)
- Selected others: -2: J Rose (Eng), L Westwood (Eng), T Woods
- -1: P Mickelson
- Level: R McIlroy (NI)
- +1: S Lyle (Sco), G Tianlang (Chn), G McDowell (NI)
- +3: B Watson
- +4: I Poulter (Eng)
Australian Marc Leishman and Spain's Sergio Garcia set the pace in the opening round of the 77th Masters at Augusta.
The pair both shot 66 for a one-stroke lead over American Dustin Johnson and two ahead of a group including English debutant David Lynn and past champions Fred Couples and Trevor Immelman.
Tiger Woods, chasing a fifth Green Jacket, carded a two-under 70, while Rory McIlroy took 72.
Alongside Woods were English duo Justin Rose and Lee Westwood with three-time champion Phil Mickelson one further adrift.
Fourteen-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang, the youngest player ever to compete at the Masters, carded 73 thanks to a birdie at the last hole.
Leishman, 29, dropped a shot at the first but came home in 31 to eclipse long-time leader Lynn on an overcast but mainly dry day after the threatened thunderstorms held off.
The world number 108 is playing in only his second Masters after missing the cut in 2010.
Masters first-round stats
- Jamie Donaldson's hole-in-one was was the 24th in Masters history and the fifth ever at hole six
- Worst single-hole score of the day was 8 - by Craig Stadler on the par-four 10th and Scottish amateur Dunbar on the second
- There were 33 rounds under par from the 93-strong field
- Tiger Woods has made 70 in the Masters first round four times previously and gone on to win on three occasions
- Honorary starters Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have won 13 Masters titles between them
"The first time I was here I was like a bit of a deer in headlights, I guess," said Leishman. "I found myself looking around a little bit too much and not concentrating on getting the ball in the hole, which is what you need to do.
"To be here is awesome and to be sitting here is pretty cool. But, you know, it's only Thursday afternoon, so a lot of golf to play. But I feel good about my game."
Twelve months ago, Garcia said he was "not good enough" to win a major after a third-round 75 at Augusta.
But the 33-year-old, who has three times finished second in majors, picked up six birdies to underline the talent that many saw as a future multiple champion.
"It's obviously not my most favourite place, but we try to enjoy it as much as we can each time we come here," said Garcia, the world number 16.
"Sometimes it comes out better than others, but today it was one of those good days. And you know, let's enjoy it while it lasts."
Lynn, 39, revealed a text message exchange from former European Ryder Cup player David Gilford helped him on his first visit to Augusta, only his third appearance in a major championship.
"I watched Tiger Woods on the range and that was the best I have seen him hit and warm up for many years. I think the key to his round was he holed out very well from inside five feet. The only blemish came at the 14th where he dropped a stroke, but other than that it was a very sound round and he hit very few errant shots."
"He said, 'Don't be too intimidated by the greens. There are birdies out there. Try and be aggressive when you can be.' So I had that in my mind,'" said world number 53 Lynn, who earned his spot by finishing second behind McIlroy at last year's US PGA Championship.
Against Leishman and Lynn is the statistic that only one first-round leader since 1985 - Immelman in 2008 - has gone on to win the Masters.
Woods, the 14-time major champion, mixed three birdies with a single bogey at the 14th and deemed himself pleased with "a solid day" as he seeks a first major since 2008.
McIlroy, who Woods recently usurped as world number one, was two under through the first nine but had four bogeys to two birdies coming home.
"It could have been better," said the 23-year-old, who squandered a four-shot lead going into the final day in 2011.
"I felt like I played well and gave myself plenty of opportunities. I just made some silly mistakes - a couple of three-putts on the back nine. I made enough birdies but I just need to cut those mistakes out and I'll be fine."
On the plus side for the Northern Ireland star, who shot a pair of 77s in the last two rounds to finish tied 40th last year, the record comeback by a champion after the first round is seven shots, achieved by Woods in 2005 and Nick Faldo in 1990.
Defending champion Bubba Watson, however, might have blown his chance of becoming the first player since Tiger Woods to win back-to-back Masters after a 75 left him nine shots back.
Ian Poulter 's hopes of beating last year's seventh-placed finish also took a tumble after he bogeyed the last two holes in a round of 76.
The 53-year-old Couples, the 1992 champion who was also sixth in 2010, was joined at four under by fellow Americans Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar and Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
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Comment number 85.Staffordshire Mark
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