Masters 2012: Paul Lawrie shines with opening 69
THE 2012 MASTERS
- Augusta National, Georgia
- 5-8 April
- Live BBC TV coverage:
- BBC Two Saturday & Sunday from 2030 and 1900 BST; Amen Corner plus holes 15 & 16 on Saturday & Sunday on Red Button & online
- BBC Radio:
- 5 live from 2100 BST on Thursday, Friday & Saturday; 2000 BST Sunday
Paul Lawrie made his first round in The Masters since 2004 one to remember with a sparkling round of 69.
In five previous appearances, the 43-year-old Scot had never managed an eagle and never broken 70.
But Lawrie broke his eagle duck at the 510-yard 13th - and then had to wait only two holes for his next one on his way to a three-under-par total.
Only Lee Westwood (five under), Louis Oosthuizen and Peter Hanson (both four under) bettered Lawrie's score.
The 1999 Open champion from Aberdeen earned himself a return to Augusta National by climbing back into the world's top 50 little more than a year after falling outside the top 270.
His second eagle took him to three under - he had earlier three-putted the long eighth for a bogey six - and he then added a birdie on the 440-yard 17th before dropping a shot at the last.
"Nice, I played solid," said Lawrie, who missed defending his Andalucia Open title and the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco due to a bout of bronchitis.
"I struggled with the speed on the front nine - I've had some time off and this is a hard course to play.
"The course is wet, wetter than they'd like it, but the greens still have good pace to them. It won't take long for them to be playing fast."
Fellow Scots Martin Laird and Sandy Lyle were quickly in trouble at Augusta National.
Laird double-bogeyed the third and was four over par after seven holes. However, the US-based Glaswegian steadied the ship thereafter and finished with a 76.
Veteran Lyle, winner in 1988, dropped five shots over the opening four holes and was 10 over par by the turn on his way to a disappointing round of 86.