4-way tie atop the Masters leaderboard


AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10: Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the seventh hole during the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia.

A chip and a chair. Spieth's five-birdie, one-bogey round left him at 4-under for the tournament.

He said closing out a four-shout lead to win the US PGA Tour's Honda Classic in February has him in good stead for a Masters charge.

Charley Hoffman, who began the day as part of a four-way tie for the lead at 4-under, spent much of it alone at the top of the leaderboard before putting his tee shot in the water at the par-3 16th hole.

Rose, who had the day's low round with 5-under-par 67, shares the lead with Garcia (70). Three of the top seven are Rebels. Mickelson was one shot behind until he sputtered down the stretch with three bogeys and two par saves over his last five holes for a 73. Garcia made bogey, dropping him to 3 under.

NOTEWORTHY: With U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson withdrawing because of a back injury, and Willett and British Open champion Henrik Stenson missing the cut, PGA champion Jimmy Walker is the only major victor from past year still in the field.

After his crushing third-round 75 in 2012, Garcia commented that he was "not good enough" to win majors, and that he should just "play for second or third place".

"New experience for me, coming from behind on Sunday at the Masters, which is kind of fun to say".

"I'm going to need to probably play the round of my life tomorrow to have a chance", said McIlroy, who shot 65 in the 2011 first round and 66 on Sunday in 2015.

"In my mind, it's just golf", Pieters said.

Still, with all that talent at the top, the real favorite might be Spieth. In 2016, Spieth had a quadruple bogey 7 on the par-3 12th in the final round to give away his likely green jacket.

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"We have a great history here", he said after his round. "It's pretty easy to root for Fowler". The first hole has been the toughest of the tournament so far, with golfers averaging a 4.634 on the par-4, 445-yarder.

McIlroy has the opportunity to become just the sixth person to complete the Grand Slam in golf. Garcia occasionally has ruefully questioned fate, but saw a sign that maybe the stars are aligning his way this time. He was second after 18 holes a year later before a second-round 78 knocked him out of things early. "He's aging gracefully. He seems like a different person".

"I've holed the winning putt about a million times", he said.

"It could be a blessing in disguise for those two guys", he said.

But Westwood reckons he might have half a chance of still winning to bring an end to his long wait for a Major title.

Spieth finished second in his first Masters start at age 21 in 2014, then won it the next year.

"Because he's won here before", he said.

Scott closed at 30-1 odds before the tournament and was at 60-1 after the first round.

The last person to win a major championship after trailing by at least 10 shots after the first round was Harry Vardon. If he completes the largest comeback in Masters history, he would be the first major champion in 121 years (1896 British Open victor Harry Vardon) to erase a double-digit deficit.

IT'S WINDY: Don't think the winds were bad at Augusta National on Thursday? "His confidence level is at an all-time high when he gets here".

"He has such command on this course, it's just unbelievable", Sherman said.