Lee Westwood leads the pack as play gets underway Friday at Augusta. The Englishman shot a 67 in round one, which he said afterward was tied for his best ever round in the Masters.
"Yeah, ties my low round around this golf course," said Westwood. " I played well. There was no weakness out there today in my game. I hit it close, hit a lot of fairways and rolled in some nice putts."
The damp conditions slowed down the greens and set the course up for scoring. In fact 28 golfers finished under par on the day.
"Yeah, when this golf course is soft, it obviously gives you a bit more of a chance," Westwood explained. "There was not a lot of wind most of the day, then the last two or three holes it picked up. 17, it blew a bit and 18 was blowing quite strong with the storm coming around. But I think they were slightly worried about the scoring getting out of control, so they tucked a lot of the flags away. I thought there were some tough flags out there. And obviously if it's soft, then it plays a bit longer tee to green. So there were a few longer irons to be hit in there."
Rory McIlroy had a rough to start to his first round, but rallied to birdie 17 & 18 and finish 1 under for the day.
"It wasn't the start that I would have liked to have got off to," McIlroy told reporters. " But I steadied the ship and made three birdies on the front nine to turn under par. Making two birdies coming in there was nice to finish under par for the day. It only leaves me four off the lead, and still with 54 holes to play, that's nothing."
Phil Mickelson didn't have the first round he was hoping for. He made the turn at 1 over, but then triple bogeyed 10 to go 4 over. He would rally to birdie 15 & 18 to finish at just +2 on the day. Phil says he's happy to have not played himself out of it after the disaster at 10.
"I missed the ball in the wrong spots and my short game didn't save me. I let three or four shots go. I hit a horrific drive on 10 and made a triple but I'm only 2 over. This is pretty good news because if I can get hot tomorrow, and I know I'm playing well enough to shoot 6 or 7 under, if I can go do that I'll be right in it for the weekend. Fortunately I didn't shoot my way out of it after not really playing well or smart."
Round two begins this morning at 7:50am when the pairing of Scott Verplank, Sean O'Hair and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano tee off.