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.