Rose, Casey, Poulter fly English flag

2016-04-08 07:31
Justin Rose (AFP)

Augusta - Justin Rose, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter each posted an opening round of three-under 69 to lead an in-form English challenge at the Masters on Thursday.

Masters leaderboard

The three are grouped in a five-way tie for fourth, three shots behind first-round leader and defending champion Jordan Spieth.

England's Danny Willett also muscled his way into contention with a 70, while fellow countrymen Lee Westwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick each shot 71, one better than Chris Wood.

"I think the love for this place started with (Sandy) Lyle (winning) in 1988," recalled Casey. "My first memory on TV was of watching Sandy hit it into the bunker on 18 and the (victory) jig on 18.

"As a young boy in England, it was always on very late at night, so being able to stay up late and watch the Masters was just something very, very special.

"It was this magical attraction, which you sort of fell for. Plus the Europeans had this great success through that period, Sandy and (Nick) Faldo, Woosie (Ian Woosnam), (Bernhard) Langer, Seve (Ballesteros)."

This year happens to be the 20th anniversary of Faldo's third and final Green Jacket.

Casey, Poulter and Rose, runnerup last year, each fired six birdies, but suffered setbacks with three bogeys in the tricky, windy conditions.

While Casey enjoyed his round alongside Spieth, Rose appreciated a splendid day with a new putter and grip.

"He made birdie putts of 20, 25 and 30 feet at one, three and 10, respectively.

"When I picked up the bigger-grip style putter with the mallet and went to the claw or the saw (grip) or whatever you want to call it, I just really noticed that the stroke felt a lot smoother," he said.

"Coming into Augusta, you question a decision like that...but I felt like there was improvement to be had, and obviously you make these decisions based upon trying to win a golf tournament, not just trying to keep it status quo."

Read more on:    masters  |  ian poulter  |  justin rose  |  paul casey  |  golf


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