Woods back at Masters, playing with early leader Leishman

Woods back at Masters, playing with early leader Leishman

Woods back at Masters, playing with early leader Leishman

Tiger-mania swept over the U.S. Masters on Thursday as the year's first major took on a rock concert vibe with Tiger Woods once again the headline act at Augusta National as first round play got underway.

Elder statesman status is all very well, but 14-time major champion Tiger Woods hasn't battled back from four back surgeries just to make up the numbers at the Masters.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger and Sweden's Henrik Stenson were a shot behind, with 60-year-old Sandy Lyle just a stroke further back after five holes on the 30th anniversary of his 1988 triumph.

The 42-year-old, who calls himself a walking miracle less than 12 months after spinal fusion surgery, has astonished in his latest return from injury, a pair of top-five finishes on the PGA Tour fueling expectations that he can resume his pursuit of Jack Nickluas's all-time record of 18 major wins. "He's got the shot-making and he's already hit all these great shots for so many years that I would think it would be easier to get it back than to find it for the first time".

However, Woods bogeyed the fourth and fifth after finding sand off the tee on both occasions and missed good birdie chances on the sixth and eighth to remain one over par.

Finau was running backwards in an enthusiastic celebration of a hole-in-one on the seventh when his left ankle buckled underneath him.

Finau began his round with a bogey on the first, but birdied the par-five second to get back to level par.

Six-time champion Nicklaus and three-time victor Gary Player officially launched the proceedings with the ceremonial opening shots.

Shohei Ohtani gets silent treatment after first career home run
Shohei Ohtani's first Major League Baseball home run came in the first inning of his first home game with the Angels . Not for nothing, but the Angels would cruise to a 2-13 victory en route to a 4-2 start here in the early going.

World number two Justin Thomas, the reigning US PGA Tour Player of the Year, can overtake Dustin Johnson atop the world rankings with a victory.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy seeks to complete a career Grand Slam after a sensational final-round 64 carried him to victory at Bay Hill.

He had a one-shot lead over 2000 Masters victor Vijay Singh of Fiji - who birdied three of his first four holes but was two-under through 12 - and Sweden's Henrik Stenson, who was two-under through seven.

Mickelson, who has contended with his own health issues in the form of psoriatic arthritis, said there was no reason a fit Woods can't contend, even if he hasn't won a tournament since 2013.

However, the former world number one hit a low punch shot from the pine straw which found the front edge of the green, from where he produced a superbly well-judged putt from long range to leave a tap-in for par.

On the eve of The Masters, the opening three-ball of Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr. and Wesley Bryan may be concerned to see that teeing off between 8am-9am US time (1pm-2pm United Kingdom time) on the opening day has led to the lowest portion of cuts made in recent years.

Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

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