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Garcia, Leishman tied for lead at Masters

Sergio Garcia has a one-stroke lead, along with Marc Leishman. (Associated Press)
Sergio Garcia has a one-stroke lead, along with Marc Leishman. (Associated Press)

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.

Garcia and Leishman had a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, who has a game that fits perfectly for Augusta and he finally brought it. Johnson hit a 9-iron for his second shot on the par-5 13th and made a 15-foot eagle putt, and he smashed his drive on the par-5 15th and hit pitching wedge just through the green for an easy birdie.


At Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club

Yardage: 7,435; Par: 72 (36-36)

Marc Leishman 35-31—66
Sergio Garcia 32-34—66
Dustin Johnson 33-34—67
Fred Couples 34-34—68
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 34-34—68
Rickie Fowler 34-34—68
Trevor Immelman 35-33—68
Matt Kuchar 33-35—68
David Lynn 33-35—68
Adam Scott 34-35—69
Jim Furyk 33-36—69
Zach Johnson 36-33—69
K.J. Choi 34-36—70
Tim Clark 35-35—70
Jason Day 36-34—70
John Huh 36-34—70
Kevin Na 38-32—70
Justin Rose 34-36—70
Brandt Snedeker 35-35—70
David Toms 36-34—70
Lee Westwood 36-34—70
Tiger Woods 34-36—70
Angel Cabrera 36-35—71
Luke Donald 36-35—71
Ernie Els 36-35—71
Ryo Ishikawa 34-37—71
Bernhard Langer 35-36—71
Phil Mickelson 38-33—71
Ryan Moore 37-34—71
John Peterson 36-35—71
Charl Schwartzel 36-35—71
Bo Van Pelt 36-35—71
Jason Dufner 37-35—72
Bill Haas 35-37—72
Brian Gay 35-37—72
Peter Hanson 36-36—72
Russell Henley 36-36—72
Freddie Jacobson 36-36—72
Martin Kaymer 35-37—72
Rory McIlroy 34-38—72
Vijay Singh 35-37—72
D.A. Points 35-37—72
John Senden 35-37—72
Mike Weir 38-34—72
Y.E. Yang 36-36—72
Keegan Bradley 38-35—73
Thomas Bjorn 37-36—73
Graeme McDowell 35-38—73
a-Guan Tianlang 38-35—73
Michael Thompson 37-36—73
Sandy Lyle 37-36—73
Larry Mize 36-37—73
Webb Simpson 38-35—73
Richard Sterne 37-36—73
Steve Stricker 40-33—73
Nicolas Colsaerts 38-36—74
Jamie Donaldson 35-39—74
Lucas Glover 38-36—74
John Merrick 40-34—74
Francesco Molinari 38-36—74
Mark O’Meara 35-39—74
Jose Maria Olazabal 38-36—74
Louis Oosthuizen 38-36—74
Stewart Cink 36-39—75
George Coetzee 39-36—75
Matteo Manassero 37-38—75
Scott Piercy 38-37—75
Henrik Stenson 36-39—75
Bubba Watson 38-37—75
Ben Curtis 36-40—76
Robert Garrigus 39-37—76
Martin Laird 36-40—76
Paul Lawrie 37-39—76
Hunter Mahan 39-37—76
Carl Pettersson 36-40—76
Ted Potter Jr. 37-39—76
Ian Poulter 38-38—76
a-Steven Fox 36-40—76
Kevin Streelman 36-40—76
a-Nathan Smith 39-38—77
a-T.J. Vogel 39-38—77
Branden Grace 38-40—78
Padraig Harrington 38-40—78
Thorbjorn Olesen 37-41—78
Nick Watney 39-39—78
a-Michael Weaver 39-39—78
Hiroyuki Fujita 38-41—79
Craig Stadler 38-41—79
Thaworn Wiratchant 41-38—79
Tom Watson 40-39—79
Ian Woosnam 40-40—80
Ben Crenshaw 40-40—80
a-Alan Dunbar 46-37—83