Jordan Spieth shoots 66 to lead Masters opening round by two shots

  • Jordan Spieth shoots 66 to lead Masters opening round by two shots

Jordan Spieth shoots 66 to lead Masters opening round by two shots

He plays well around here, he always has.

But McIlroy posted his best opening round at the Masters since shooting 65 when he led through 54 holes and is lurking three strokes behind in his bid to complete the career Grand Slam. Despite suffering a dropped shot at the tricky first, McIlroy was back on the charge making back to back birdies on the second and third holes of his round. He is now 7-over with nine holes to play. "I got a standing ovation on the range".

With the cut expected to fall around 5-over, Sharma would require a couple of birdies and play the back under par to stay on in the tournament.

"Big for momentum", McIlroy said.

But Spieth is no stranger to meltdowns at the Masters, having blown a five shot lead with nine holes remaining in 2016 to allow Danny Willett to take the Green Jacket.

"Today I felt the Sunday-type pressure of leading the Masters on the middle of that back nine, and adjusted extremely well", Spieth said. "So, yeah, they were huge".

"It's a false edge and it's pretty significant", Tiger Woods said after he shot 73.

"So I imagine there will be plenty of times, if not from early on tomorrow, that I don't lead this tournament anymore".

Tiger Woods has his first birdie at the Masters in almost three years. If he were to win this tournament, he said, it wouldn't even qualify as the greatest comeback of all time in golf.

Spain's Sergio Garcia, among the late starters, will likely miss the cut to the low 50 and ties plus anyone within 10 shots of the lead after an opening 81, the worst-ever round for a Masters defending champion. "I had good numbers though, numbers where I could hit nice full shots and that makes a difference".

Garcia's unlucky 13 also matched the highest score on any hole in Masters history. It's worth remembering that his first three appearances here resulted in the following finishes: second, first, second - the last only because he inexplicably melted down at the exasperating par-3 12th in the final round, dumping a pair of shots in the water.

If Garcia's octuplet bruised his ego, it paled in comparison to what Tony Finau endured.

Reigning British Open champion Spieth sent his tee shot deep into the Georgia pines on both holes, didn't escape the trees on his second either time and left his third shy of the green twice, missing an 11-footer for bogey at the par-4 first and a 5-footer for par at the second. He suffered fractures in his left collarbone, left ankle, pelvis and a rib.

When I got to the course, we had breakfast up near the Champions Locker Room. He wasn't sure he could play until tests showed he was cleared to play. For close to an hour, his name was atop those white leaderboards around Augusta National with Tony Finau until Jordan Spieth took over.

"You look at it and not anyone is really getting away", McIlroy said.

"We build plans for the year to peak at certain times", Spieth said. It had gone ice cold.

While Spieth's iron play and putting plays well here, McIlroy has the power to make up ground on the par-5s. But that's Garcia, a walking contradiction over the years who once blamed the golf gods for stealing a British Open title from him. It worked again on Thursday. He almost drove the green on the 350-yard third and then chipped to 4 feet and drained it for a birdie. Spieth is seeking his fourth major and second green jacket at the tender age of 24.

Ghim qualified as the runner-up at the U.S. Amateur last summer at Riviera.