Fisher, Goosen set early pace at Augusta | other | Hindustan Times
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Fisher, Goosen set early pace at Augusta

other Updated: Apr 07, 2011 22:49 IST
Reuters
Ross Fisher

's Ross Fisher and South African Retief Goosen charged into a share of the early lead at the US Masters on Thursday as four-times champion Tiger Woods made a confident start.

On a glorious sun-splashed spring morning at Augusta National where birdsong echoed amid the pine trees, Fisher and Goosen got to four under par early in the opening round.

Englishman Fisher recovered from bogeys at the first and fourth with a sizzling run of four birdies in six holes from the sixth to vault to the top of the leaderboard.

Goosen, twice runner-up at the Masters, soon joined him after an explosive start.

The double US Open champion holed out from the fairway to eagle the par-four first and birdied the third and fourth to draw level with Fisher.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, one of several young guns expected to flourish this week in the season's opening major, was at three under after seven holes.

Former world number one Woods, bidding for his first tournament win in almost 17 months, was level after recording a rock-solid par at the opening hole.

A couple of fans had expected the worst from the 14-times champion before he teed off. Positioned close to the landing area for Woods's opening drive, one of the spectators said to his friend: "Which way is he going to spray it? Will he slice it or hook it?'

Woods did neither, hitting a perfect three-wood straight down the middle of the fairway to set up an ideal approach into the green. After striking his second shot to 25 feet below the hole, he narrowly missed the birdie putt, his ball curling past the left edge of the cup to spark groans from the crowd crammed around the green.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, among the late starters, was scheduled to tee off with fellow American Peter Uihlein, the US amateur champion, and Australian Geoff Ogilvy in the penultimate group of the day.