Golf: McGirt grabs lead with 69 in Masters debut

McGirt reacts after his putt on the second hole during the first round of the US Masters.
McGirt reacts after his putt on the second hole during the first round of the US Masters.PHOTO: EPA

AUGUSTA, United States (AFP) - William McGirt, an American making his Masters debut, fired a three-under par 69 in blustery conditions Thursday (April 6) to seize the first-round lead at the Masters.

McGirt qualified for Augusta National by winning last year's Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial tournament, the 37-year-old's first US PGA triumph.

McGirt birdied the par-5 second hole but took his lone bogey on the third. He answered with birdies at the par-4 fifth, par-5 13th and par-3 16th.

Americans Jason Dufner and Charley Hoffman shared second on 2-under, Dufner having three holes to play and Hoffman with seven more to play.

Six players were in the clubhouse on 71 with five more on the course at 1-under.

Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson opened with a 71, as did the English trio of Justin Rose, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Early in the back nine on 1-under were Spain's Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm, Ireland's Shane Lowry, American Bill Haas and Australian Marc Leishman.