Spieth Masters Augusta once again

Jordan Spieth is in very familiar territory, leading the Masters with the rest playing catch up, but he has too much respect for Augusta National to feel in total control.

Australia's Marc Leishman is on top of the Masters leaderboard early in the first round at Augusta.

Australia's Marc Leishman is on top of the Masters leaderboard early in the first round at Augusta.

The 24-year-old Texan put the field on notice by firing a six-under-par 66 to lead by two shots from Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar after the opening round on Thursday.

His day included an eagle, five consecutive birdies on back-nine which required just 10 putts.

In 17 career rounds at the Masters, Spieth has led after nine of them.

World No.4 Spieth was the last man to lead the Masters from start to finish when he won in a canter in 2015 and, with two other runner-up finishes in the past four years, rivals are keenly aware of his potential to become the first player to record multiple wire-to-wire victories at Augusta.

Greats Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer managed the feat just once.

Even Spieth, who is at times painfully modest, admitted he's in the box seat.

"Technically, yes," he said.

"To go wire-to-wire is a rare occurrence in any tournament, anywhere.

"I'm going to try and control what I can and that's about it."

He added: "If you get off to a good start, you're in control of your own fate, versus needing any help.

"This golf course brings out a lot of feel in my game and I think that's an advantage."

However, the memory of his horror 2016 final round collapse when leading remains strong.

"I know as well as anybody that anything can happen at Augusta National," Spieth said.

"You know, whether it's tomorrow or it's Saturday or Sunday, I'll always have demons out here.

"But I'll always have a tremendous amount of confidence out here.

"Once you win here, you have an advantage over anybody who hasn't won here.

"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."

Finau's score is remarkable given he dislocated his ankle celebrating a hole-in-one during the par-3 contest on Wednesday and was a chance of withdrawing from the event.

Former British Open winner Henrik Stenson and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy (69) headline seven players tied for fourth at three under.

A shot back is Marc Leishman, who posted a 70 while playing with Tiger Woods to be the leading Australian.

Leishman easily upstaged Woods, who got his highly-anticipated Masters comeback off to a good start with an early birdie but a series of errors from the tee saw the four-time champion finish at one-over (73).

At one under, Cameron Smith is next best of the Australians having carded a 71.

Fellow Queenslanders Jason Day and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott both struggled to 75s to sit at three over.

Back To Top