Augusta (Georgia), April 8 (IANS) Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri got off to a poor start at the 80th Masters Tournament as he shot four-over 76 to be tied 59th at the Augusta National Golf Club here.
The 28-year-old was on Thursday even-par till the 15th hole but had his round marred on the par-three 16th hole — which he cleared with six shots. The triple bogey derailed his round and it was followed by a bogey on the 17th which meant that he finished with a 76.
Apart from this, the world No.51 had two birdies (sixth and 14th) and two bogeys (fourth and 11th).
He was tied alongside world No.7 Adam Scott of Australia, No.10 Patrick Reed, No.61 Jason Dufner and Darren Clarke.
Meanwhile, American Jordan Spieth kicked off his title defence in impressive fashion, firing a bogey-free six-under on Thursday to take an early first-round lead.
The 22-year-old, second-ranked Spieth, who also won last year’s U.S. Open title, carded birdies on the third, sixth, eighth, 10th, 13th and 18th holes.
More than his half-dozen birdies, Spieth was impressed by the zero bogeys he made on a blustery, windy Thursday in which he said his ball-striking was “average” but he scored “extremely well”.
“I just didn’t feel confident after the first couple mid-iron shots I hit, I didn’t feel confident over the ball with irons,” he told pgatour.com. “It was extremely special to stay bogey-free on a day like today at the Masters, yeah.”
World No.38 Danny Lee of New Zealand and No.32 Shane Lowry of Ireland were two shots behind Spieth, while Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Soren Kjeldsen shared the fourth spot on 69.
World No. 1 Jason Day of Australia was tied 21st with an even-par 72, while No.3 Rory McIlroy scored 70 to be joint ninth.
In one of the bigger surprises in the opening round of the year’s first major, American Ricky Fowler, the world’s fifth-ranked player, shot 80 and will need a very low number on Friday just to make the cut.
Fowler double-bogeyed the first hole but battled back to make the turn at even par. But he followed a triple-bogey at the par-five 13th with a pair of bogeys, then doubled the 16th after finding the water as he struggled to correctly judge the swirling winds.
It’s the sixth time Fowler has recorded a round of 80 or more on the PGA TOUR — and the third time he’s done it at a Major.
“Obviously golf’s tough,” he said. “It’s a fine line, especially at this place. I go play a decent back nine and I’m 3-under par. It can go either way and it can definitely go the other way, the high number way, a lot easier than it can the low.”
South African great Ernie Els also got off to a dreadful start, shooting a 10 on the opening hole and finishing 8-over for his opening round.