Spieth shines again at Augusta

06 April 2018 03:32:01 EST

2015 champion Jordan Spieth secured the first-round lead at the Masters for the third time in four years after a superb 6-under par 66 on Thursday.

His afternoon lap of Augusta National, which included a run of five straight birdies from the 13th, put him two shots clear of fellow Americans Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau.

Once you've won out here, you have a tremendous advantage over those who haven't.

Jordan Spieth

Rory McIlroy was amongst those leading the European charge with a 69, a score matched by Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

That trio share fourth place with Patrick Reed, Charley Hoffman, Haotong Li and Adam Hadwin.

But it was a day to forget for Sergio Garcia, who racked up a 13 at the par-5 15th hole after going in the water five times. He eventually signed for a 9-over 81 to sit tied 85th of the 87-man field.

Tiger Woods also had to settle for an over-par round although a 73 left him a respectable tied 29th and still hoping to produce a fairytale win. World number one Dustin Johnson and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson also fired 73s.

Spieth was the first-round leader when winning the 2015 Masters and he again set the pace on day one in 2016 when finishing runner-up.

The 24-year-old said: "This tournament often feels like there's six rounds with how the weekend grind is. I feel like I'm kind of one round down out of six, so I'm not getting ahead of myself."

"It's just the first round. I know as well as anybody anything can happen at Augusta National."

That was a reference to him having a five-shot lead on the back nine in 2016, but eventually losing out to Danny Willett.

"I'll always have demons out here, but I'll always have tremendous confidence out here," Spieth added. "Once you've won out here, you have a tremendous advantage over those who haven't."

Spieth is now 100/1 to win the Masters, with McIlroy 4000/1 and Stenson 1000/1, while Woods is priced at 4000/1.

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