'Big Easy' leads SA charge

2015-04-10 12:30
Ernie Els (AFP)

Cape Town - South African golfing icon Ernie Els turned back the clock with a superb five-under 67 to lie three shots off the lead after the first round of the 79th Masters at Augusta National on Thursday.

Playing in his 21st Masters, the 45-year-old 'Big Easy' surged into contention with his lowest ever opening round, mixing five birdies and an eagle with two bogeys.

American Jordan Spieth leads the way after a round of 64, while Els shares second spot alongside American Charley Hoffman, England’s Justin Rose and Australia’s Jason Day.

Former world No 1 Tiger Woods struggled, signing for an opening score of 1-over par, 73.

Charl Schwartzel, the winner in 2011, was the second-best placed South African, posting 71 to share 18th place.

Other South Africans in field will have their work cut out to make the cut. Louis Oosthuizen (72, tied for 31st), Branden Grace (75, T69th) and Trevor Immelman (76, T77th) will need improved Round 2 performances in order to make the weekend.

Leading first round scores here on Thursday in the Masters over the par-72 Augusta National course:

64 - Jordan Spieth (USA)

67 - Charley Hoffman (USA), Justin Rose (ENG), Ernie Els (RSA), Jason Day (AUS)

68 - Sergio Garca (ESP), Russell Henley (USA)

69 - Ryan Palmer (USA), Bill Haas (USA), Webb Simpson (USA), Paul Casey (ENG)

70 - Phil Mickelson (USA), Billy Horschel (USA), Kevin Streelman (USA), Patrick Reed (USA), Dustin Johnson (USA), Noh Seung-Yul (KOR)

71 - Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Anirban Lahiri (IND), John Senden (AUS), Cameron Tringale (USA), Danny Willett (ENG), Tom Watson (USA), Gary Woodland (USA), Keegan Bradley (USA), Bubba Watson (USA), Stephen Gallacher (SCO), Rory McIlroy (NIR), Graeme McDowell (NIR)

72 - Padraig Harrington (IRL), Angel Cabrera (ARG), Chris Kirk (USA), Matt Kuchar (USA), Zach Johnson (USA), Adam Scott (AUS), Camilo Villegas (COL), Thomas Bjorn (DEN), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Jonas Blixt (SWE)

73 - Henrik Stenson (SWE), Bernhard Langer (GER), Steve Stricker (USA), Erik Compton (USA), Matt Every (USA), Morgan Hoffmann (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA), Mark O'Meara (USA), James Hahn (USA), Jimmy Walker (USA), Tiger Woods (USA), Ian Poulter (ENG), Lee Westwood (ENG)

74 - Brooks Koepka (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Jason Dufner (USA), Ryan Moore (USA), Brandt Snedeker (USA), Byron Meth (USA), Ben Martin (USA), Jim Furyk (USA), Victor Dubuisson (FRA), Mikko Ilonen (FIN), Geoff Ogilvy (AUS), Bae Sang-Moon (KOR), Darren Clarke (NIR), Sandy Lyle (SCO), Jamie Donaldson (WAL)

75 - Ian Woosnam (WAL), Shane Lowry (IRL), Thongchai Jaidee (THA), Vijay Singh (FIJ), Bernd Wiesberger (AUT), Branden Grace (RSA), Hunter Mahan (USA), Luke Donald (ENG)

76 - Brian Harman (USA), JB Holmes (USA), Scott Harvey (USA), Trevor Immelman (RSA), Joost Luiten (NED), Matias Dominguez (CHI), Martin Kaymer (GER)

77 - Kevin Stadler (USA)

78 - Larry Mize (USA), Miguel Angel Jimnez (ESP), Antonio Murdaca (AUS), Bradley Neil (SCO)

79 - Jose Mara Olazbal (ESP), Ben Crane (USA), Fred Couples (USA)

80 - Brendon Todd (USA), Robert Streb (USA), Corey Conners (CAN)

82 - Mike Weir (CAN)

85 - Yang Gunn (KOR)

91 - Ben Crenshaw (USA)

Read more on:    masters  |  golf

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