Millennium Post

Leishman and Garcia take control

Leishman and Garcia take control
Australia’s Marc Leishman and Sergio Garcia of Spain shared the lead at the 77th Masters on Thursday after both shot six-under 66s in the first round at Augusta National.

Leishman had set the early pace, sparked by four birdies in a row from the 13th, but Garcia matched him late in the day with a bogey-free round that matched his best ever at the Masters, where he debuted in 1999.

Dustin Johnson of the United States was a stroke further back at 67 with six players -- Rickie Fowler, Fred Couples and Matt Kuchar of the United States, David Lynn of England, 2008 champion Trevor Immelman of South Africa and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain -- grouped together on 68.

Tournament favorite Tiger Woods was tucked in with a batch of players on two-under 70 while world number two Rory McIlroy shot level par and three-time winner Phil Mickelson had a 71.

China’s 14-year-old prodigy Guan Tianlang, who became the youngest player ever in Masters history, came in with a 73 to preserve his chances of playing at the weekend. Reigning champion Bubba Watson struggled to a three-over 75 By the end of a day of intense action, 45 players in the 93-strong field were at or under par and within six shots of the lead.

Garcia, the former boy wonder of world golf, disparaged Augusta National last year after a poor final round and doubted his own chances of ever winning a major. He was four under by the turn and showing off some of the superb shot-making, his trademark.
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