Pros advice

Sergio Garcia & Marc Leishman Share Lead on Day One

The 2013 US Masters kicked off yesterday and saw Australian Marc Leishman and Spain’s Sergio Garcia share the lead in the opening round at Augusta.

Both players shot 66 for a one-stroke lead over chasing American Dustin Johnson and remain two ahead of the group which consists of English debutant David Lynn and former champions Trevor Immelman and Fred Couples.

Fourteen-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang, who earlier this week had a one-to-one training session with Tiger Woods and who is also the youngest ever golfer to compete at The Masters, carded a 73 after an impressive birdie at the last hole.

The man in form, Tiger Woods, started his quest for a fifth Green Jacket by carding a two-under 70, with world number two Rory McIlroy taking 72. The English duo of Lee Westwood and Justin Rose stuck alongside Woods through the first day, with Phil Mickelson one adrift.

Joint leader Leishman dropped a shot at the first but came home in 31 to overthrow then-leader Lynn on a day which was overcast but dry, with the threat of thunderstorms luckily proving to be just that.

Garcia, the joint leader on day one, said twelve months ago that he was “not good enough” to win a Major after a third-round 75 at Augusta. Now, however, the 33-year-old Spaniard, who has three times finished second in Majors, picked up six birdies to show a talent his fans knew he harboured.

Many spectator eyes had been on 14-time Major champion Woods, and a mixed three birdies with a single bogey at the 14th was enough for him to be satisfied with the opening day’s performance. If Tiger wins it will be his first Major victory since 2008. McIlroy, however, was two under throughout the first nine and had four bogeys to two birdies coming home.

Elsewhere it was a disappointing day for defending champion Bubba Watson, who many now wonder if he has blown the chance of becoming the first player since Tiger Woods to win back-to-back Masters after a 75 left him an unattractive nine shots back.

Things aren’t looking too good for Ian Poulter, either, with the Englishman’s hopes of an improved finish over last year’s seventh-place looking bleak following bogey’s on the last two holes in a round of 76.

1992 champion Couples, who finished sixth in 2010, was joined at four under by fellow American Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar, as well as Spain’s Gonzales Fernandez Castano.