Woods and McIlroy left playing catch-up06/04/2012 - 07:08:46
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both talked about needing to improve their driving after giving Lee Westwood a head start at The Masters.
The two players most talked about in the build-up to the event are only five and four shots behind respectively, but it was hard work for them on the opening day.
Woods bogeyed the final two holes for a level par 72, McIlroy birdied them both for a 71 – after setting off with a double bogey on the course where he blew the tournament with a closing 80 a year ago.
They both found only six of the 14 fairways and Woods had to take penalty drops in the trees on the second and 18th holes.
“I squeezed a lot out of that round – I hit some of the worst swings I’ve ever hit,” said the four-time champion, so impressive in winning at Bay Hill a fortnight ago.
“I didn’t hit it very good at all – and warmed up bad too. I need to go do some work.”
With Phil Mickelson having a triple bogey seven on the 10th in his 74 and world number one Luke Donald taking 75 it was a struggle for a lot of players.
But Scot Paul Lawrie was a very happy man on his return to the event after a gap of eight years.
The 43-year-old’s 69 was the first time he had broken 70 at Augusta and when he eagled the 13th it was his first one in 265 holes at Augusta.
Lawrie then had to wait only two more for his next one, chipping in from 45 feet, and he ended the day in a tie for fourth only two behind Westwood.
The 1999 Open champion admitted he had a chuckle to himself at the start when the official starter announced to the crowd in his southern drawl: “Fore please, Paul Lawrie now driving.”
Lawrie said: “I had forgotten about that. That’s how they do it here – it’s pretty cool.”
Little over a year ago he stood 272nd in the world. Now he is back in the game’s top 50 – and staying there during a recent bout of bronchitis is what earned him his place this week.
“I’m still a little bit weak and not quite 100%. But I don’t really have any aspirations of any tournament that I play – I try and play one shot at a time.
“I found that’s kind of cost me in the past. As soon as you think you’re playing well and your confidence is high then this game tends to get you a wee bit.
“I’m not thinking about winning at all at the moment. I know there’s a long way to go.”
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