Spieth leads at US Masters

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McIlroy is one of the favourites to win this week and is looking to land his first Green Jacket to complete golf's "Grand Slam". He has played 17 rounds here since 2014 when he finished second in his Masters debut.

If Tiger Woods wants to stay in contention on the weekend, the key might be figuring out how to navigate No. 11. Jordan Spieth already has three major titles, including the 2015 Masters.

Third shot (after a penalty stroke): After spending some time deciding where to drop, Woods chose a spot 45 yards from the pin, leaving a delicate pitch to a narrow green - short and he is back in the water; long and he is in the back bunker facing a terrifying blast back to the green while staring again at Rae's Creek.

Observers are calling the plausibility a miracle, and it could be one not just for Woods' career, but golf in general, as the sport struggles to reel in a younger generation disinterested in the game's slow pace, pricey equipment and maddening difficulty.

He spanked drives at No. 2 and No. 8, but made par.

"But obviously, after the MRI we had, you know, there was no real damage".

KEY STATISTIC: Spieth took only 10 putts on the back nine.

Kuchar had five birdies on the back nine to join him on 68.

The performance of Finau was arguably even more remarkable given the sickening injury he suffered during the pre-tournament par-three contest.

Sergio Garcia's defence of his Masters title got off to a awful start as he hit a record 13 in opening round at Augusta National after hitting five consecutive shot into the water on the 15th hole.

Henrik Stenson discovered a lack of practice made flawless as he celebrated his 42nd birthday in style at Augusta National.

Ditto for Woods, except that he has some catching up to do.

It was also the first time he failed to shoot par or better since the second round of the Genesis Open - a stretch of 12 rounds - in February.

"Seventy-three is fine", Woods said. "We've got a great plan, and then gearing up myself and getting psyched for them and the right amount of confidence and composure that it takes. It's really hard to run away from it, but it's also really easy to lose it out there".

It did. He avoided the pine straw and some of the trees that line the right side of the fairway. Even so, his 66 sent a strong message.

Dressed in black from head to toe, Woods tried to approach his first shot like any other. "With the round he's posted, the quality of golfer he is, he's on some similar form". This final walk prior to the official start of a daily Masters journey is traditionally scored by a soundtrack of appreciation, some polite clapping, maybe a few high-fives and the occasional shouts of "good luck". "His record is spectacular around here".

Other featured groups, including those featuring world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, two-time Masters victor Bubba Watson and three-time Masters victor Phil Mickelson, were scheduled to tee off later.

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