6 Apr 2012

Westwood leads Masters

11:52 am on 6 April 2012

The English golfer Lee Westwood grabbed the lead late in the day in a rainy first round of the US Masters at Augusta, Georgia as he set out yet again on his lifelong quest to win a major title.

The world number three went out in 32 to signal his intentions and two more birdies against one bogey on the back nine, as the bad weather came in, nudged him ahead atop the leaderboard at five-under 67.

It is the first time the 38-year-old Englishman has led after the first round of a Major despite having five top-three finishes in his last nine majors.

Westwood finished the day one shot ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen, who had four birdies in the last five holes to card a 68, and Peter Hanson of Sweden.

Favourites Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both struggled.

Woods battled against a wayward driver to scramble a level par 72 while McIlroy opened with a double-bogey six and splashed into Rae's Creek in front of the 13th green en route to an edgy 71.

Westwood, runner-up at Augusta to Phil Mickelson two years ago, says he's been working at easing the tension involved in playing in the Masters.

First-round strugglers also included last year's joint runners-up Jason Day and Adam Scott of Australia, who carded 76 and 75 respectively, and 2008 champion Trevor Immelman of South Africa, who had a 78.