Spieth leads, Aussies struggle on day one of Masters

Reigning champion Jordan Spieth has seized a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Masters in Augusta.

Spieth fired a six-under-par 66 early on day one to storm to the top the leaderboard two shots clear of New Zealand’s Danny Lee and Irishman Shane Lowry and en-route to become only the fourth player to claim back-to-back Masters victories.

Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth celebrates during round one of the 2016 US Masters (Credit: Getty Images)

“I would have signed for two-under today and not even played the round, knowing the conditions that were coming up,” said the 22-year-old Spieth, who is aiming to emulate Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods with consecutive Green Jackets.

“Got a lot out of the round with what I felt like was kind of average-ish ball striking. Just scored the ball extremely well, something I’ve been struggling with this season. I put it up there with one of the best rounds I’ve played.”

Englishmen Justin Rose, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Spaniard Sergio Garcia share a tie for 4th position after opening with rounds of 69.

Jason Day, who had entered the tournament in sensational form, winning six times in his last 13 starts, got to five-under in his first nine holes before dropping five shots across his last four holes for a 72.

The world number one bogeyed the par 5, 15th and then backed that up with a triple-bogey 6 at the par 3, 16th after putting his tee shot in the water. A bogey-par finish left Day six strokes adrift of Spieth.

“Today when I wasn’t on the perfect number, I wasn’t sharp enough with my iron play. That was leaving me too much work to do on the greens, probably two of the putts that I had, were not two putt-able,” said Scott.

“Disappointing looking at the four par-5’s today, not one birdie. If I could have capitalised on them and limited the damage a bit, 2-over on a tough day with a good start tomorrow you feel like you’re back under-par.”

“But I have some work to do on the front-9 to pull myself back, the mission tomorrow will be to get back to par or better, and then I’ll still think I am in good shape.”

The rest of Australia’s green jacket campaign has started slowly with 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott shooting4-over-76, leaving him 10 shots off the lead.

“It was a tough day and I need a solid one from the first hole in the second round,” said Scott. “I was just not sharp enough from the fairways and you have to be around here.”

Marc Leishman and Masters rookie Cameron Smith finished the day with rounds of 74, while Steven Bowditch struggled with a wrist injury to shoot a 7-over-79.