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Patrick Reed leads but Rory McIlroy is bang there for Masters weekend

07 Abril 2018, 03:02 | Crisanna Felipe

McIlroy off to solid start at Masters, keeps Slam in sight

Masters golf: Rough day for Shubhankar Sharma

His 81 matched the highest score by a defending champion who missed the cut.

Woods shot a 1-over 73 in the opening round Thursday, failing to make up any ground on the four par 5s.

Danny Willett is one man capable of sharing Garcia's pain as he headed to the exit after the 2016 Masters champion saw his title defense evaporate in two days past year and the Briton repeated the feat this time following rounds of 75 and 76.

The odd number of weekend participants means that an honorary marker will be used in the first tee time.

"I know that he had a big challenge, but the game for him looks easy", Mickelson said. He then made 4 on No. 2, the first of his birdies on all four par-5 holes.

Marc Leishman stands at second place after carding a 5-under-par 67.

Tiger Woods and the weekend at Augusta National Golf Club are joined at the hip. He was partnered with Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., for the day.

Leishman delivered the shot of the day at Augusta National when his approach at the par-five 15th stopped six feet from the hole, setting up an easy eagle.

It's a daunting task, outlasting all of those boldfaced stars, but when has Patrick Reed backed down from a challenge?

After Woods tuned up for his first Augusta visit since 2015 with a pair of top-five finishes, expectations sky-rocketed for the 42-year-old, despite a recent spinal fusion operation that was described as nothing less than a surgical "Hail Mary".

"I need a lot of help but also I need to go out there and do my job", he added. "Finally I listened to her this week".

That left him three shots adrift of Marc Leishman, former Masters champion Zach Johnson and Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who were all in the clubhouse at two under par. At one point Mickelson was one shot out of the lead.

Reed's only other 36-hole lead was at the 2015 US Open. He missed a tiddly birdie putt on the par-five 8th, then scrambled out of trouble at the 9th with a deft two-putt which he said felt like an up-and-down. Webb Simpson could be making a move with consecutive birdies at the second and third holes.

"I've always been comfortable around the lead", McIlroy said.

Mickelson, who has contended with his own health issues in the form of psoriatic arthritis, said there was no reason a fit Woods can't contend, even if he hasn't won a tournament since 2013. "I hit so many lovely putts". "I've been obviously following his career as I follow the Texas team. I came here knowing I'd done all the work I needed". Reed was determined to get off to a good start without becoming too aggressive. - Shubhankar Sharma (77-74), who received a special invitation to play this year's Masters. I didn't know if I'd ever be playing again. And I fought hard to get it back in there, and I'm back in this championship. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the mid-60s and rain throughout most of the afternoon.

Wesley Bryan, Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr. were the first group to tee off when play began.

Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player officially got the tournament started Thursday morning with the ceremonial tee shot.

Henrik Stenson (14th in the world) is 5-under.

It was the front nine. Woods scrapped to make the cut, shooting 75 and finishing 4 over.

"I feel like I don't have to swing my best to play my best golf, but if I can think the way I'm thinking right now and stay in that mind-set, that's when I've been able to produce my best results".

The memory for him now is hazy at best, but there he was in slacks and a golf shirt, bouncing a golf ball on a wedge with the kind of dexterity that made you take notice.



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