Veteran Spaniard Sergio Garcia and relative unknown Australian Marc Leishman surged to share a first-round lead at the Masters Tournament, as both finished with a 6-under par score of 66 at Augusta National Golf Club. While a long-time favorite on the PGA, Garcia has yet to break through and win a major tournament in his 14-year pro career. Leishman, playing in only his second Masters, is looking to win his first-ever tournament on the PGA tour.
Dustin Johnson is just one behind at 5-under par, while a group of Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, 1992 Masters champ Fred Couples, 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and David Lynn are all bunched up at 68. Adam Scott, Jim Furyk and 2007 champ Zach Johnson each shot a 69.
No. 1 ranked Tiger Woods played a solid, but unspectacular, round of 70 to finish at 2-under par. Others at 2-under include Lee Westwood, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose, K.J. Choi and Jason Day. Crowd favorite Phil Mickelson shot 1-under, while Rory McIlroy finished at even-par. Defending champion Bubba Watson shot a disappointing 75.
Teen sensation Guan Tianlang, a 14-year-old from China, converted a birdie on the 18th hole to finish at 73.
Garcia took advantage of the softer greens, and played a bogey-free round. Leishman was red-hot, converting four consecutive birdies on the back nine.
Augusta yielded ideal scoring conditions, as winds were negligible, with mild temperatures allowing the greens to hold. Tougher pin placements and firmer greens await golfers tomorrow, and conditions will become progressively tougher over the weekend for those making the cut.