Casey goes low, Tiger lurks at the Masters

Ben Everill
·2-min read

Defending champion Tiger Woods has set himself up for a shot at a record-tying sixth Masters title with an impressive start to a weather-affected opening round at Augusta National.

Woods shot a four-under 68 to sit tied for fifth, three behind England's Paul Casey who set the pace with a glitzy seven-under 65.

But a stack of big names find themselves well and truly in contention.

Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele are second in the clubhouse after 67s, while Justin Thomas was also five under but had negotiated just 10 holes when play was halted for darkness following a near three-hour delay for thunderstorms earlier on Thursday.

Joining Woods with rounds of 68 were Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama, England's Lee Westwood, South African Louis Oosthuizen and American former champion Patrick Reed.

Matthew Wolff (11 holes), the runner-up at the recent US Open, Australia's 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott (10 holes) and South African Dylan Frittelli (nine holes) were four under but still to complete their opening rounds.

World No.1 Dustin Johnson was three under through nine holes.

"I got off to a fast start today, which is good, but I think everyone is. Everyone is going low out there," Woods said.

"With these conditions, you have to. You have to be aggressive. There's no reason why you can't fire at a lot of the flags."

Woods is searching for a sixth title that would join him with Jack Nicklaus as the most successful player at the Masters.

It would also bring the 44-year-old to 16 major championships, just two shy of Nicklaus' record 18 and take him to 83 PGA Tour wins, moving out of a tie at the top with Sam Snead.

Casey is looking to improve on the five top 10s he has had at Augusta National.

"I did the right things when I needed to," he said. "You rarely walk off this golf course going 'it could have been two or three better', but it kind of felt that way. I don't want to be greedy. I'm very, very happy with my 65."

Brawny bomber and tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau rebounded from a rough start where he made a double bogey on the par-five 13th after starting on the 10th.

The US Open champion was expected to devour the course with his length, particularly the 13th, but had to close with two consecutive birdies for a two-under 70.

"This golf course, as much as I'm trying to attack it, it can bite back," DeChambeau said.

"I tried to take on some risk today. It didn't work out as well as I thought it would have, but at the end of the day I'm proud of myself the way I handled myself and finished off."