Masters 2018: Sergio Garcia takes 13 at 15th as Jordan Spieth leads by two

By Jamie LillywhiteBBC Sport
2018 Masters
Venue: Augusta National Dates: 5-8 April
Coverage: Watch highlights of the first two days before live and uninterrupted coverage of the weekend's action on BBC Two and up to four live streams online. Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Read live text commentary, analysis and social media on the BBC Sport website and the sport app. Full details
Masters first-round leaderboard
-6 J Spieth (US); -4 T Finau (US), M Kuchar (US); -3 H Stenson (Swe), P Reed (US), A Hadwin (Can), C Hoffman (US), H Li (Chn), R McIlroy (NI), R Cabrera-Bello (Sp); -2 B Weisberger (Aut), Z Johnson (US), M Leishman (Aus), R Fowler (US), P Mickelson (US)
Selected others: Level T Fleetwood (Eng), J Rose (Eng); +1 T Woods (US), B Watson (US), D Johnson (US); +2 P Casey (Eng), J Thomas (US), S Lyle (Sco), I Poulter (Eng), T Hatton (Eng); +3 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), D Willett (Eng), J Rahm (Spa); +6 R Fisher (Eng); +7 I Woosnam (Wal); +9 S Garcia (Spa); +14 H Ellis (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Defending champion Sergio Garcia put five shots into the water for a 13 on the 15th as Jordan Spieth built a two-shot lead after day one at the Masters.

Spaniard Garcia equalled the worst score for a hole in the tournament's history and carded a nine-over-par 81.

Four-time champion Tiger Woods returned to Augusta National with a one-over 73.

Spieth posted a six-under 66, with Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar sharing second and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy one of seven players at three under.

In benign late afternoon conditions, Spieth played some immaculate approaches and recorded five successive birdies on the back nine, the first time he has done so in a major.

The 24-year-old American, champion in 2015, is the most recent of five players to win the Green Jacket having led after all four rounds. He drove into the trees at the last but a sublime chip ensured only one dropped shot.

Finau was fit to make to make his Masters debut despite dislocating an ankle after tumbling in exuberant celebration of a hole-in-one during Wednesday's par three competition.

"I didn't sleep very much on Wednesday night but from that point to where I stand today is nothing short of a miracle," he said.

The 28-year-old world number 34 made six birdies and holed from 13 feet for a par at the last.

Garcia capitulates

But the biggest story of the round was Garcia. He was two over when he teed off on the par-five 15th but his second shot, over the water guarding the green, landed near the hole and spun back, trickling down the steep slope.

Sergio Garcia
Garcia plummeted to only one place off the bottom of the leaderboard

The 38-year-old attempted virtually the same style of flighted shot on each subsequent occasion, before finally getting one to stay on the green - but his one-putt for a 13 equalled Tom Weiskopf in 1980 on the par-three 12th and Japan's Tommy Nakajima on the par-five 13th in 1978.

"I don't know what to tell you," said Garcia. "It's the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot. Simple as that.

"I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and unfortunately the ball just didn't want to stop. I don't know, it's just one of those things. So it's just unfortunate, but that's what it is."

To the delight of the sympathetic crowd, Garcia birdied the next hole but the world number nine cut a dazed figure as he completed his round.

Woods fights hard on return

American Woods, who had back fusion surgery last April, was playing his first Masters round since 2015.

He has had an encouraging season to date, finishing joint second and tied fifth in his most recent PGA Tour events last month.

With clear blue skies and light winds at the legendary 7,435-yard course, he holed from seven feet to birdie the third - but found bunkers at the next two holes to drop consecutive shots.

Another shot went at the 11th after a pushed tee shot and he needed to hole a putt from the fringe at the 12th to drop only one stroke after his tee shot trickled into Rae's Creek.

Tiger Woods in first-round action
Woods mixed three birdies with four dropped shots

The 42-year-old world number 103 had two birdies in the last five holes in the Georgia sunshine but could not improve his record of breaking 70 only once in 21 opening rounds at the Masters..

After his first competitive 18 holes at the Augusta National for 1,089 days, he said: "It feels great to be back; it's been a while. I was looking forward to grinding it out and I made a little comeback on the back nine to get myself back into this tournament."

Australian Marc Leishman, the 34-year-old world number 16 playing with Woods and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, birdied two of the first three holes and held the lead at four under before he chipped into the water at the 15th and made a double bogey - finishing with a two-under 70.

How did the favourites fare?

McIlroy, seeking the Masters title to complete the career Grand Slam of majors, dropped only one shot and birdied the two par fives on the back nine, before making crucial par saves at the 16th and 17th, only the second time he has broken 70 on day one at Augusta.

He said the birdie he made at the 13th, after landing in a greenside bunker, was the "best up and down I've made all year", adding: "I played a solid round and to shoot something in the 60s, I'm really happy with that."

Patience pays off for McIlroy in first round

Crowd favourite Phil Mickelson, 47, who last month won his first title since 2013, is bidding to become the oldest Masters champion and had three birdies in four holes on the back nine, missing another birdie chance at the last, to finish two under.

England's Justin Rose, runner-up in two of the past three years, holed a key putt to save par on the 11th and avoid going three over, and he got back to level with an 18-foot birdie at the last.

World number one Dustin Johnson, who tied for fourth in 2016, bogeyed the last for a 73, the same score as two-time champion Bubba Watson, who made only one birdie, at the 15th.

PGA champion Justin Thomas, the world number two, was one under after 12 but double bogeyed the 16th and finished two over.

How are the Brits doing?

Race to Dubai winner Fleetwood birdied two par fives but was two over when he had a seven-foot eagle chance at the 15th.

Tommy Fleetwood on day one at Augusta
Fleetwood had five birdies and five bogeys in his opening round

That stayed right but the birdie was followed by two more in succession, including a putt from 20 feet at the 17th, before a closing bogey resulted in a level-par 72.

World number 13 Paul Casey, winner of the Valspar Championship last month, had problems on the greens and was three over after seven, before finishing with a 74, the same score as fellow Englishman and world number 17 Tyrell Hatton.

Ian Poulter, who won a play-off at last week's Houston Open to secure his place in the event, was four over before birdies at the two par fives on the back nine helped him to a 74.

Scotsman Sandy Lyle, 60, the first British winner 30 years ago, sank a 36-foot putt to eagle the 15th and also carded a 74.

Danny Willett, winner two years ago, and fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, were both five over par but recovered two shots to post rounds of 75, Willett making three birdies on the back nine.

Englishman Ross Fisher had four birdies, but also ran up three doubles in a 78, while veteran Ian Woosnam was one shot further back.

Harry Ellis, the 22-year-old from England who won the Amateur Championship last year, carded three double bogeys and a triple bogey in a 14-over 86.

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