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Leishman is early leader in Masters

AFP
ANALYST
News
634   //    12 Apr 2013, 00:30 IST

AUGUSTA, Georgia (AFP) –

Guan Tianlang hits a shot during the first round of the 77th Masters on April 11, 2013 in Augusta

Guan Tianlang of China hits a shot during the first round of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia.

Australia’s Marc Leishman held the clubhouse lead halfway through the opening day of the 77th Masters on Thursday.

The 29-year-old cricket lover bogeyed the first hole, but was back to one-under by the turn. He then turned on the style down Augusta National’s back nine with five birdies to come in with a six under 66.

England‘s David Lynn had earlier fired a four-under par 68 to set the early pace as benign morning playing conditions cleared the way for a bunch of birdies.

The 39-year-old, who finished runner-up to Rory McIlory in last year’s PGA Championship, got to five-under after 15 holes, but a bogey at 17 pegged him back.

US veteran Jim Furyk came in with a 69, with six players — Kevin Na, David Toms and Brandt Snedeker, all of the United States; Tim Clark of South Africa, and Englishmen Lee Westwood and Justin Rose all safely home at two-under 70.

Marc Leishman hits a shot on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia

Marc Leishman of Australia hits a shot during the first round of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. Leishman held the clubhouse lead halfway through the opening day of the 77th Masters on Thursday.

Tournament favorite Tiger Woods opened with four straight pars before nabbing birdies at six and eight to reach the turn in 34.

Watched by the new love in his life, champion skier Lindsey Vonn, the 14-time major winner stayed there until the par-five 13th, where he moved to three-under.

Chinese 14-year-old Guan Tianlang made history by becoming the youngest-ever player in the Masters, but he opened with a bogey at the tough first hole.

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The Asia-Pacific amateur champion bounced back with a birdie at the third and was at level par through six holes.

World number two Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson both had late starts with the favorable early playing conditions forecast to turn into rain and storms late in the afternoon.

They both opened with pars and followed up with birdies at the second.

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