Europeans ignite Augusta National

At the close of day one, it was the Europeans who lived up to the pre-tournament hype with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Spaniard Alvaro Quiros both firing a stunning 7-under 65 to share the lead at the 2011 US Masters in Augusta, Georgia.

Just two strokes back sit Y.E. Yang, who famously rolled Tiger Woods to become the 2009 US PGA champion and fellow Korean, K.J. Choi, who collected 67’s on their way to a share of 3rd place.

Geoff Ogilvy Geoff Ogilvy: Best of the Australians in round one

Choi made hard work of his round after heading to the 13th tee at even par, the world number 43 reeled off five birdies over the final six holes to repair what was looking like an ordinary round.

World number nine, Rory McIlroy was pleased with his performance and even more so with his first sub-70 round at Augusta National.

“It’s great. After the second round here last year it was probably the low point of the season for me. I went back home for a couple of weeks to sort of try and find my game again. “

“It’s nice to come out here and shoot a really good round and get into the 60s and get that little monkey off my back and get go into the next three rounds in a positive frame of mind. “

Geoff Ogilvy heads a beleaguered Aussie contingent who failed to fire on day one. It was left up to the Victorian to keep the Masters dream alive – finishing in a seven-way tie at T7 at 3-under the card and fours strokes off the pace.

“Pretty happy how I played. I felt like I hit a lot of greens. The only bogey was a three-putt on 6, which is doable from the bottom of that hill. The rest of it was pretty tidy, and then if I would have had a really crazy putting day I could have gone pretty low. But it’s a pretty fair score.”

Adam Scott and Masters debutante, Jason Day are at even par (T31) with Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby well out of the pack at +3 (75) and in desperate need of something special on day two.

Defending champion, Phil Mickelson, got off to a slow start to his title defence but as we know, alot can happen over the next three rounds at Augusta National but the tournament favourite has some work to do.

“It’s okay, just okay. I didn’t shoot myself out of it but I didn’t make up ground on the field the way I wanted to, so I’ve got to go do it tomorrow.”

Former world number one, Tiger Woods, put himself in contention with a roller-coaster 1-under 71, which included three birdies and two bogeys. Despite the issues with his putter, Woods was happy with his opening round efforts.

“Conditions were pretty good all day. They had a few really tough pins, but also more than we thought would be accessible pins. I hit a lot of beautiful putts. And they were just skirting the edge, so hopefully they will start going in. “

When asked whether he was happy with his position, Woods replied, “Absolutely. I’m only six back.”