The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 12, 2013

Garcia, Leishman tied for opening round Masters lead

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Sergio Garcia might have written himself off too quickly at the Masters.

When last seen walking off the course at Augusta National, the impetuous Spaniard was moping about his bad luck at this tournament and said last year it was increasingly evident he would never be fitted for a green jacket.

Garcia matched his best score at the Masters on Thursday, a 6-under 66 with no bogeys on his card, to share the lead with Marc Leishman of Australia. And he still wasn’t entirely happy, although this time with good reason. He hit the ball so well his score could have been so much better.

“To tell you the truth, if I manage to make a couple of the putts that kind of stayed around the lip, I could have been probably 7- or 8-under par through 10,” Garcia said. “It was that good. And it wasn’t like I was hitting pitching wedge every single time. I was hitting 4-irons and 5-irons and 6-irons, so it wasn’t that easy.”

It sure felt easy for several players in a gentle opening round — even for an eighth-grader.

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old from China and youngest to compete in a major in 148 years, played well beyond his age and holed a 15-foot putt from just off the 18th green for a respectable round of 73 and a reasonable chance of making the cut.

Tiger Woods wasn’t far off as he began his quest for a fifth green jacket. Wild at the start, including a tee shot that knocked a cup of beer out of a spectator’s hand, Woods settled into a groove and opened with a 70 as his girlfriend, Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn, watched on a few holes.

In his four Masters wins, Woods has never opened with a score lower than 70. His key is not to shoot himself out of the tournament.

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