Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Jordan Spieth takes two-shot lead

Jordan Spieth takes two-shot lead

He shot a 65 that year and looked like he would win a green jacket before a final-round meltdown.

With a lot of tournament still to play, fan favorites are on top, veterans struggled to make par and last year's champion went from the top of the class to second-to-last in one bad hole.

"It has been awesome this entire comeback", said Woods, 42. I kept leaving myself above the hole and giving myself defensive putts.

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley told the crowd crammed around the first tee how privileged they were to have the duo with nine green jackets to start the tournament. He enters Friday with a two-shot lead, three years after becoming the fifth wire-to-wire victor in event history. He gave back the gain with a bogey on 10th.

The 11th brought more trouble as his tee shot sailed way right of the fairway.

"It's not always the birdies that stick out in your mind", McIlroy said, calling those shots the highlights of his round. "Unfortunately people ran out and it clipped them". His second shot squirted right and into the gallery he just repositioned.

A dip in Rae's Creek at 12 cost him a shot, although he limited the damage with an impressive 18-foot bogey putt.

Woods turned back the clock as he played his first Masters round in 1,090 days. "I could have easily let it slip away". It's nice that I came out to play and know that I had the golf course in front of me.

Spieth back where he belongs - Jordan Spieth LOVES Augusta.

Danny Willett, victor 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.

He drained the putt for a huge eagle to move to 2 under.

He rolled in a nine-footer at 14, and his pitch at 15 left him a four-footer.

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Woods, dressed all in black, felt as though he played better than he scored, and there was no sense of panic.

"I felt like the ball was going to stop", Garcia said.

With Jordan Spieth threatening to dominate yet another major championship, Paul Krishnamurty surveys the leaderboard in search of value trades and recommends a quintet of bets from today's three-ball coupon. But Garcia's tee shot left him just 206 yards to the pin.

"This is a moment I've dreamed of my whole life", Finau said. "Sometimes that happens, and most of the time it doesn't".

A day earlier Tony Finau's celebration of an ace in the Par-3 contest, nearly forced him to withdraw as he seemed to have twisted his ankle.

Spieth, who has two runner-up finishes and a runaway victory at the last four Masters, has plenty of heavy-hitters stalking him.

Spieth stormed past a crowded leaderboard on Thursday with a string of five consecutive birdies from the par-five 13th before dropping a shot at the 18th.

He was joined by Masters newcomer Li Haotong of China, former British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden, Spain's Rafael Cabrera Bello, Canadian Adam Hadwin and Americans Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

On a day when Woods failed to make a birdie on any of Augusta's par 5s for only the fifth time in his career, he managed to grind out a decent result.

His first competitive round at the Masters in three years certainly wasn't the best one for Tiger Woods.

The drama in the early part of the day centred around defending champion Sergio Garcia, whose round of 81 included a 13 at the par five 15th hole, where he put five balls in the water and effectively ended his hopes of a successful defence of his title.

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