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Page last updated at 23:56 GMT, Thursday, 7 April 2011 00:56 UK

2011 Masters day one as it happened

BBC Sport's Hazel Irvine at Augusta

BBC Sport's Masters 2011 preview


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By Mark Orlovac

Masters leaderboard (external site)

0040: That's us done for day one. Thank you very much for sticking with it and for all of your messages. Tell you what, why don't we do this all again tomorrow? Sam Lyon will kick things off at around 1230 BST and I'll see you later on in the day. Rest easy and take care. Laters.

Luke Donald (level): "I didn't get off to a good start - I was a bit apprehensive and hit a few poor iron shots and hit it in places I shouldn't. But I know the back nine you can make up shots and it was nice to get back to even par. There is a different feeling out here and a lot of emotion going around. I played OK but hopefully it will be better tomorrow."

Paul Casey (-2): "You have to be patient but I had to do something as seven under is a spectacular score by Rory and you can't let him get too far away. This golf course rewards beautiful golf shots - you have to take risks and you can be rewarded royally if you pull them off. I lacked confidence and struggled off the tee, I think I found most of the trees out there. It wasn't perfect so I'm actually happy with two under."

Chris F, Bridlington, via text: "What would that be philmac17? 96?"

0028: It is worth mentioning that American debutant Gary Woodland, who won an invitation to this year's Masters following his victory in the Transitions Championship a few weeks back, finished his first round with four birdies on the bounce. That's something to tell the grandkids. He's three under, only four strokes off McIlroy.

Joint leader Alvaro Quiros (-7): "I played well, I was lucky and I made putts. The best club in my bag was my putter."

Phil Mickelson (-2): "I scrambled well today to stay in it but I let four or five birdie opportunities go so I'm going to have to capitalise on that if I want to shoot low tomorrow. It's just OK. I didn't shoot myself out of it but I didn't make up ground on the guys at the top like I wanted."

R1 leaderboard:
-7 McIlroy, Quiros
-5 Yang, Choi
-4 Kuchar, Barnes
-3 Fisher, Snedeker, Garcia, Schwartzel, Immelman, Ogilvy, Woodland

MattMaltby on Twitter: "Surely no darts fan needs a second name to connect 'Phil' with The Power?"
Fair point. Should have known that, I love my darts too. Shame on me.

designbysoap on Twitter: "Firey finish by Quiros! Well set up for tomorrow. Gutted I have to work."

0017: And Quiros shares the lead at the very end of day one. Incredible. Told you it was worth staying up. He sinks that tiddler and joins McIlroy on seven under with three birdies in the final four holes.

Masters Macca: Disappointing finish for Justin Rose as he bogeys the last to card a 73. The Molinari boys, by the way, will also be unhappy with how they ended. Edoardo double-bogeyed the 18th for a 74, while Francesco dropped shots at 16 and 17 for a 75. Fair play to Henrik Stenson though, who played the last seven holes in one under. He still finished with an 83 mind.

0012: Don't even think about going to bed. Quiros could be sharing the lead in the next few minutes. Honestly. He fires a sparkling approach to the 18th green and has a five footer for birdie.

philmac17 on Twitter: "Watch out for a course record from Ian Poulter tomorrow."

grahamvet on Twitter: "Another sleepless weekend just like the Ashes!"

0006: ... and no, he doesn't save par. Mickelson ends with a bogey five for an opening-round 70.

0003: It's not over for Phil on 18 either. (Is golf the only sport where 'Phil' doesn't need a second name?) He is long with his approach and it lands in the crowd. He takes a drop without penalty and his chip runs away down the slope. That was a very tricky shot from the back of the green, to be fair. He'll need something special to save par here. But that's not the first time we've said that today, though, right?

Champagne moment
0000: AND ANOTHER! Quiros is on 17 and drains a 20 footer for birdie. He's on six under, one behind McIlroy. Fireworks at the end of day one. Love it.

Champagne moment
2357: Well that's a fantastic way to end day one. Choi is on the lower level of the 18th green but his monster putt has exactly the right weight and line and falls into the centre on the hole. That was special. He finishes with five birdies in the last six holes for a five-under 67.

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Terry in Sutton via text: "Masters. Bit of a brag regarding bets. Three of my five pre-tournament bets are sitting top three. Had McIlroy at 34/1, Yang at 120/1 and Quiros at a mas sive 200/1. Only £5 on each but keep up the good work lads!"
That's just showing off!

RooKnight on Twitter: "Bed time. Looking forward to a Luke Donald charge tomorrow evening!"

Masters Macca: Well done Paul Casey, who has finished off at the last for a round of 70. Four birdies in five holes on the back nine helps to leave him well positioned. Luke Donald also closed well, including picking up four shots in three holes to finish level. Justin Rose, the last of the Brits out on course, is heading down the 18th on level.

2349: It's the dying embers of the day now. The sun is setting and somehow Augusta National looks even more stunning. KJ Choi finds the rough stuff down the left on the 18th but that is a great recovery and he runs the ball up onto the green. That's not bad at all.

2345: Vegas goes very close to a birdie at the 16th. He was centimetres wide with that downhiller. Quiros has a spicy one to save par and it just creeps in on the right lip. Big, big smile again from the Spaniard, that's relief more than anything.

JoshuaStupple on Twitter: "I went to high school with Lion Kim! Any word on how he's played today?"
My favourite name in the Masters field today. He carded a four-over 76.

Latest leaderboard (F = finished):
-7 McIlroy (F)
-5 Yang, Quiros
-4 Kuchar (F), Barnes (F)
-3 Fisher (F), Snedeker (F), Garcia (F), Schwartzel (F), Immelman (F), Choi, Mickelson, Ogilvy

It's good news for a European
2335: Quiros moves back up to five under with a birdie four at 15. I haven't seen it yet. Anyone got any money on him? Could be another handy bet for a place.

2329: The light is beginning to fade at Augusta now. Mickelson has a tricky one at the 16th for birdie. The ball threatens briefly but breaks right and rolls away. Par for him. The last group is on the 15th green, and Jhonattan Vegas, no relation, is miles away from the hole but his ball twists and turns and falls for an eagle. Magic moment. Vegas, who hails from Venezuela and won the Bob Hope Classic in January, is now one under.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "Any Caddyshack fans? I've just seen Steve Marino give his putter a talking-to, 'billy-baroo' style, on 16th green. 'Oh,billy, billy, billy'."

Masters Macca: Paul Casey is finishing like a runaway train. Another birdie at 17 and he's -2 playing the last. Luke Donald parred the last and he's recorded a rollercoaster 72. Justin Rose bogeys the 16th to fall back to level with two to play.

jakeabow on Twitter: "Tonight's gone so quickly. It'll be all over before we know it!"

It's good news for an American
2315: Forgot to say that Ricky Barnes, who did have ridiculously white strides on today - wonder if he borrowed them from David Coulthard?, finished on four under. And here's scrambler Mickelson, and he's birdied the 15th. That's two in row. And he's three under. Superb.

2310: Quiros on the 14th green for bogey... it's 20ft away... and it drops! Big smile from the Spaniard even though he moves out to four under. He knows that could have been a lot worse. KJ Choi, tied for fourth last year and third in 2004, makes it three birdies in a row with a four at 15. The 40-year-old Korean has moved up to three under.

Masters Macca: Paul Casey has a second birdie in a row and he's under par now at -1. But Luke Donald is back to level after a bogey at 17. Still, if he can safely negotiate the last he'll be relatively satisfied with a 72 after being +3 earlier.

2304: Quiros has gone right at the 14th and it's not good. He is on the pine straw with plenty of trees in front of him... and he smacks his ball into the first one. Thwack. It flies into the jungle and settles behind a bush. He does chip the ball out at the first time of asking, though, and is in the middle of the fairway. Bogey looks likely now.

2300: Wonderful stuff from Mickelson. He gets out of the woods at 14, placing it on the green, and sinks the birdie putt. Easy. Two under for the 40-year-old, which is pretty amazing considering the positions he has found himself in so far today. That's why he has won three Green Jackets I suppose.

sreynolds_59 on Twitter: "How long was Quiros' drive at thirteen? It looked for a minute as if he'd had to lay up!!!"

It's good news for a European
2253: Just clocked again the outfit Rickie Fowler was wearing today. Green. Very green. From top to toe. There were times I could only see his face and arms against the lush carpet of Augusta National. Anyway, that man Quiros is at it again, a monster drive at 13 and he's on the green in two. Unsurprisingly, Quiros leads the driving distance stats on the European Tour this season. Anyway, he misses the eagle putt but lands a birdie and moves up to five under.

Masters Macca: If Luke Donald is heading in the right direction, fellow Brit Justin Rose is passing him the other way. Rosie sheds a couple of shots at the par-5 13th hole to slip to level par. It's the first time he's not been in the red since the first hole. Paul Casey, a hole ahead of Rose, is also at level.

2245: It's very scattergun from Mickelson at the minute. He's struggling to find a fairway. At 14, Mickelson's drive smashes into a tree and looks to have bounced back into the rough. I'll update you on that when I see it.

Latest leaderboard (F = finished):
-7 McIlroy (F) -5 Yang (F)
-4 Kuchar (F), Quiros, Barnes
-3 Fisher (F), Snedeker (F), Garcia (F), Schwartzel (F), Immelman (F)

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Anon via text: "Re: 2233. Wayne, not sure you should have wished anon good luck with the job interview, it's for your job!"

2237: American Ricky Barnes has been chugging along nicely and is three behind McIlroy on four under. He's on the 17th fairway and he lands his ball safely on the green. Mickelson on the 13th green and has a long one for birdie.. and oh that's close. Another par for Lefty. Yang on the last, and he misses his par putt. He finishes bogey, bogey and he cards a 67. That will keep him tossing and turning tonight.

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Wayne, Bebington, via text: Re: anon 2221 job interview tomorrow - get to bed! Good luck."

It's good news for an Englishman
2233: Nice finish for 2008 champ Immelman, he birdies the last and ends the day on three under. That's quite handy. Donald has a fine approach at 16, that is superb. And he sinks the tiddler for birdie. Back to under par for the world number four.

mattlittlechild on Twitter: "Mickelson looking frustrated here. Will need a big change for tomorrow if he wants to challenge. But if anyone can, it's Phil."

Masters Macca: Luke Donald is on a mini-charge. After a birdie at the 14th he pops in an eagle at the par-5 15th (maybe he played it like a par-3) and he's back to level par now.

2229: Mickelson is in amongst the azaleas at 13. That's not fantastic. At least his purple top blends in with the surroundings. After conferring with the referee, Mickelson steps up to the ball and dinks it out of the jungle and onto the fairway. That may not cost him to much.

Masters Macca: Shocking finish for Ian Poulter, who was swimming along at two under after 14. He finished with a double at the last for a sorry 74. Paul Casey is back to level after a birdie at 13.

2221: McIlroy's out in front on his own again. He misses with a tricky par putt on 17 to slip back to six under. Now Mickelson at 13. And that's horrid. "No!!" he exclaims. Couldn't agree with you more. He is not going to have a nice lie there.

The_Trellis on Twitter: "Reading John le Carré and listening to the golf - I have become my father."

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Anon via text: "I've lost a lot betting on golf in recent years (Poulter and Donald) so I've gone for Yang and Fisher each way for first round lead. Inspired. Hoping for the same luck in my job interview tomorrow!"

2215: Yang has gone way left with his approach at 17. Don't know what happened there. He's on the pine needles plus he's got a tree in front of him and a bunker to the left. That's a tough gig. He does get it through the trees but the ball lands in the sand near the bunker. McIlroy could be out on his on again soon.

Latest leaderboard (F = finished):
-7 McIlroy (F), Yang
-4 Kuchar (F), Quiros
-3 Fisher (F), Snedeker (F), Garcia (F), Schwartzel (F), Barnes

2209: Mickelson leaves himself with a long-ish par putt with that bunker shot at the 11th and manages to land it. That was another important save. The beaming smile returns and there's also a pump of the fist. Henman-esque? You tell me. Rose drops a shot at 11 but gets it back at the 12, he's still on two under.

Sergio Garcia (-3): "It's never nice to bogey the last but anytime you shoot under par on this course you can't be too unhappy. [My confidence] is not at its highest but it's getting better and it's showing."

2203: And we have two players in the lead. YE Yang places his tee shot at the par-three 16th 10 feet from the pin and he sinks it! He's with Rory McIlroy on seven under. Quiros is on the 10th green, five feet away, and has to aim it about four feet to the left. These greens are incredible. Anyway, the Spaniard lands the birdie putt and he moves up to four under.

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James, Newcastle, via text: "YE Yang 100/1. A tip from my swimming coach, glad I took it!"

It's bad news for an American
2200: Mickelson does manage to save par at the 10th but he may not be so fortunate at the 11th as his approach lands in a greenside bunker. That was not a good shot.

Masters Macca: Two bogeys on the trot for Ian Poulter and that's level pegging for the Englishman. Two holes to go and I'd guess he'd take a 72 now. Justin Rose is the leading European still out on the course on two under.

mj2739 on Twitter: "Stenson is having a shocker! Never back Stenson. I'm glad I went for Quiros as a rank outsider. Hopefully RMc hasn't peaked too soon."

MistahLee30 on Twitter: "Former work colleague always has a bet on Henrik Stenson in the Majors. Bet she won't have much hair left after tonight!!"

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Anon via text: "Had a cheeky quid on McIlroy for first round leader at 35/1. Let's hope there are no late surges in the day."
Yang looks to be your danger man at the moment.

Masters Macca: Experience can only get you so far at Augusta, you know? Tom Watson, having got back to +3, is now +6 after shedding three shots in two holes. Ian Woosnam is heading down the last on +5. Craig Stadler is also looking unlikely to be sticking around for the weekend as he is +8 after 17.

2146: McIlroy is being closed down. YE Yang has an eagle chance at 15 but the ball does not drop. That's a birdie, though, and he's one off the Northern Irishman.

Graeme McDowell (+2): "A little frustrating day, actually. I played pretty well. I three-putted 10, three-putted 13, three-putted 14, three-putted 15. And that was kind of my day summed up right there. I was in control of the ball pretty well but when I three-putted 13 it knocked the stuffing out of me a little bit. I made a few ragged swings coming in. But frustrating because I did everything right, put the ball in positions, just couldn't quite get it going on the greens. And if I get two of those four three-putts I'm actually at level par and I'm happy with that. But two over's a little frustrating the way I hit it today. I just can't afford any mediocre rounds from here on in. I just got to play good now this weekend. I got three rounds ahead of me and I've just got to shoot in the 60s all three times to have a chance."

Masters Macca: Paul Casey wobbles around the turn with bogeys at nine and 10 and he's at +1 now. Couples and Cabrera are up to two under. Experience counts for a few shots at Augusta (sometimes).

2141: By the way, could you do me a favour and manually refresh this page. I'm not sure some of Masters Macca's entries over the last hour or so have gone through and frankly I don't want to see him angry. It's only happened once and it wasn't pleasant. Mickelson at the 10th has a superb natural tunnel through the trees and he nails it through the gap. Some plonker shouts 'In The Hole', obviously, but the ball creeps up to the fringe of the green. Impressive. Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champ, is in the hunt on two under thanks to an eagle at the 15th.

Masters Macca: Did anyone have money on Henrik Stenson? Come on, own up. Well your boy is taking one hell of a beating out there. Having suffered a shocker of a five-over eight at the fourth he's just triple-bogeyed the 11th and is 12 over now.

Tiger Woods (-1): "I hit the ball pretty well all day so all in all a good day. [The course] was very fair and accessible. All the guys are trying to get off to a quick start and then try to hang on through the middle part and get on the par fives on the way back in."

2132: Mickelson on the 10th tee, a dog-leg left, and he shouts "Cut! Cut!" as soon as he hits it. He knows it is far too straight and the ball flies into the 'patrons' and the trees. Trouble.

It's good news for a European
It's bad news for an Englishman
2125: Big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, who won the Dubai Desert Classic in February, very nearly claims an eagle at the eighth but his putt just rolls wide. He'll card a second straight birdie, though, and he moves to three under. Poulter, meanwhile, is struggling at the 15th. He is way wide with his approach to the green, then fails to lift the ball over the greenside bunker and places his ball near the lip. The ooohs from the crowd tell its own story. He eventually cards a six and he's one under.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "Tiger Woods ends with a one-under 71. 'Do you like where you are?' he's asked. 'Absolutely, I'm only six back,' he says."

Cassettari101 on Twitter: "Re: 1855 Carlito: 'Oosthuizen a mare?' It's the best I can do! A South African accent may assist that shoddy attempt!

McIlroy happy after 'great round'

2117: McIlroy is on the wireless now, talking with Chris Evans. He reveals that he was talking cars with playing partner Rickie Fowler today. And books, apparently. Anyway, here's a little telly interview McIlroy after his round. Garcia shakes his head ruefully at the last as he misses an eight-foot par putt. Still in the clubhouse on three under, though.

Masters Macca: Luke Donald slides down to +3 as he begins the back nine with a bogey. I bet he wished he'd thrown the par-3 now. G-Mc walks off the last with a 74. Must do better tomorrow. Ian Poulter is showing them the way as he rattles off eight pars on the trot and goes down the 15th on -2 - a scoreline shared by Justin Rose following a birdie at the eighth.

Latest leaderboard (F = finished):
-7 McIlroy (F)
-5 Yang
-4 Kuchar (F), Garcia, Schwartzel
-3 Fisher (F), Snedeker (F)

2106: And YE Yang is up to second on his own, on five under, courtesy of an eagle at the par-five 13th. Garcia from the long stuff at the last, the ball is on the dancefloor but that leaves him with a lot of work to do. Meanwhile, on 5 live, the crew are talking about the no running rule at Augusta National, which I wasn't aware of. Maybe that's why I'm not a member. Apparently you have to keep one foot on the floor at all times, a bit like the walking event in the Olympics. I think.

Masters Macca: He gets knocked down but he gets up again. Tom Watson, the old dog, has pulled back a couple of shots in three holes to get back to +3. Angel Cabrera and Fred Couples, also former winners, are doing nicely on -1. Euro Ryder Cup skip Jose Maria Olazabal, twice a winner, is doing OK out there on +1. His opposite number in Illinois next year, Davis Love III, is four shots behind him.

2101: Nice one, Scriv. Thank you. Hello again. Still with us? Excellent. Woods has just finished off with a par and he is in the clubhouse on one under. And Mickelson joins his old sparring partner as he claims his first birdie of the week, at the eighth.

By Peter Scrivener

2100: The 5 live coverage is getting underway - linked off top right of this page - and with that, my short time here comes to a close. Orlo coming back into the seat. Enjoy the rest of the evening's golf.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "Westwood (72) after missing short par putt on 18: 'It's how my game is at moment. If you can't hole from 4ft, you're going to struggle'!"

2056: Garcia seems to have brought the right putter this week. He misses birdie putts on 16 and 17 but leaves them close enough to walk off with two pars and stay at four under.

2053: 1992 winner Freddy Couples rocking along nicely at one under par after 10. Cut to Woods on 18 playing his approach from light rough, shouting at his ball to "go hard" - either it listens, or it was a good shot in the first place as it homes in on the flag and finishes no more than six feet from the hole.

2049: Pacer Poulter shovels out of the bunker on 13 - it was the best he could do - but he's left himself with a huge snaking putt down the green. He lags it beautifully to leave himself with a tap in for par.

2045: A quick nudge towards BBC Radio 5 live which will be up and running in 15 minutes with live coverage of the remainder of the first round - the link will appear at the top of this page at 2100 BST. Back on the course, Tiger taps in for par on 17 to stay one under and Mickelson does likewise on seven to stay level par.

It's bad news for an Englishman
Masters Macca: Apologies. It seems Westwood bogeyed the last to drop to level par. I'll take a two-shot penalty for that shocker. No such problems for reigning champ Phil Mickelson as he opens up with six straight pars.

2040: A little manual refresh will put my name to the top of the leaderboard for a few minutes, if you'd be so kind. I bring you news of Poulter getting a nasty kick off what could only have been a sprinkler head as his ball flies through the 13th green and into a bunker. Up on 17, Tiger plays a delightful chip from the back of the green and he looks set for a par.

By Mark Orlovac

2034: Right, my stomach is rumbling, which is not nice for anyone sitting nearby, so I'm going to take a quick breather to grab some dinner and the lovely Peter Scrivener will be your host for a few minutes. If that's OK with you, of course. Ace.

It's bad news for a European
Masters Macca: Lee Westwood's heading for the clubhouse with a steady one-under-par 71. Paul Casey is now -1 with a birdie at the seventh, while Martin Kaymer let another one go at the 18th after a bogey at 17 to finish on +6.

Martin Laird (+2): "I hit the ball well but I just couldn't make anything on the greens, 17 was about the first good putt I made and then I made a good save there on the 18th but I think I was inside 15 feet on five of the first six holes but I just couldn't make anything. But that is what you get out here. I hit good putts but I just wasn't reading them right and burnt a lot of edges of holes and had a few lip outs. But if I can keep hitting it the same and hole a few putts, I'm sure I'll be OK tomorrow."

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Nick in Bournemouth via text: "You can't lose a major on the first day but you can sure win one! Or is it the other way round."

2026: In just 10 minutes we have seen the best and worst of Sergio Garcia. From the sand at 15 he produces a wonderful bunker shot to leave him with a get-able putt, which he then pushes wide. Shame. He'll settle for a par. By the way, Kuchar ends par-par to reach the clubhouse on four under.

It's bad news for a Welshman
2022: I've had a complaint about the lack of Welsh flags, so just to prove that we do have them, here's a mention of Ian Woosnam. The 53-year-old, who won here 20 years ago, is four over through 13 after bogeys on 10, 11 and 12. Here's Woods and that putt is very, very good. It just trickles past the hole. Looks like a par for him. Now Poulter (-2) on the 12th green, looking like a Pacer sweet according to my colleague, and misses a six foot birdie putt.

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Ped in Birmingham via text: "Steady on Rory - just cos I had a couple of quid on you don't peak too early. It's a marathon not a sprint."

2017: Garcia, very smart in a red top and blue trousers, finds sand with a wayward approach to the 15th green while Woods plants his tee shot beyond the flag at the par-three 16th. He'll be fortunate to grab a birdie from there.

Masters Macca:

G-Mac is back to +2 after a bogey on 14, Luke Donald joins him on +2 with a dropped shot at the seventh. Oh Padraig, the big Irishman has a double at the last and that's a 77. Harrington was one under after six holes.

2011: Here's Tiger with that birdie putt... and it squirts wide. Chance gone. A lot of people are asking about Henrik Stenson at the par-three fourth. Well, as we've got limited telly coverage at the mo, all I can say is that he took an eight. Oof. There's no water on that hole but there are two greenside bunkers so he might have had some trouble getting out of one of them. As soon as we discover what happened, I'll let you know.

dayoadedapo on Twitter: "OK, so I got off the couch to get some food to push me all the way till 10.30pm. More golf and food till Sunday!"

It's good news for a European
It's good news for an Englishman
It's good news for an American
2001: Hello, hello. Garcia continues his charge and a birdie at 14 puts him on four under. Can't believe he's now the world number 73. Westwood birdies 16 and he's back to one under while Woods, who has birdied 14, has a great chance for three in a row with a fine approach to 15 that leaves him with an uphill birdie putt.

Latest leaderboard (F = finished):
-7 McIlroy (F)
-4 Yang, Kuchar
-3 Fisher (F), Snedeker (F), Garcia, Schwartzel

Clubhouse leader Rory McIlroy (-7): "I'm not taking anything for granted. It's a good start but that's all it is. I didn't really put a foot wrong - that's what you need to do here and that's what you need to do in major championships is limit your mistakes. Today I didn't have any. I felt I made a good up-and-down at the first to sort of get my round going and after that I played really solid golf, hitting the ball where I wanted to and picking my targets and committing to them. I know better than anyone else what can happen after you lead in the first round of a major. St Andrews is going to be big on my mind but I've learned from it and I'll be better prepared to go out and shoot a good score tomorrow."

Masters Macca: Lee Westwood is back to level par after a birdie at the 15th. Justin Rose off to a decent start with a birdie at the second hole. Paul Casey birdied the fourth but slipped back to level with a dropped shot at the fifth. Luke Donald still at +1, Martin Laird is in the clubhouse at +2 after clawing back a couple of shots at 13 and 17.

It's bad news for an American
It's good news for a European
1951: It's certainly been an entertaining for Kuchar. He bogeys the 16th and is four under. A little word on Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who eagles the par-five 13th and is three under for the day.

1946: And with exquisite timing, we have an update on the man himself. Kuchar is now in second on his own on five under with birdies at 14 and 15. Nightmare for the Goose. He bogeys 16, 17 and 18 and the South African is in the clubhouse on two under. That has to hurt. YE Yang, the US PGA Champion in 2009, birdies eight and nine to join the group on four under.

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Jordy in Suffolk via text: "Kuchar is looking good... he always seems to hang around there at the end at the moment. Another American win at the Masters and world rankings suddenly become less important to them."
Kuchar is certainly in good form, the world number 10 has had six top 10s from eight starts on the PGA Tour this year.

Masters Macca:

Panting for some Tiger Woods news? He's just picked up a birdie at the par-five 13th to get back to level par. Reigning champ Phil Mickelson is also level after parring the first three holes. Speaking of former winners, poor old Tom Watson is finding life a bit tricky and is five over after seven. It's tough out there.

1940: I knew it wouldn't be long and just over two hours into this commentary, I've heard my first 'Get In The Hole' of the weekend. *Sigh* It was for defending champion Mickelson, who is at the third green and is probably going to get his third par of the day. Just seen a replay of McIlroy walking off the 18th green and he really wasn't happy with missing that birdie putt at the last.

OliMay4 on Twitter: "Can Rory see it through to the chequered flag? Only Kaym will tell!"

1933: McIlroy is at the last now, and that's a peach of an approach. It's a tough one for birdie, he does not make it and he taps in for par. That's a bogey-free 65 and it beats his previous best at Augusta by five shots.

Latest leaderboard (F = finished):
-7 McIlroy
-4 Goosen, Kuchar
-3 Fisher (F), Snedeker (F), Fujita, Schwartzel
-2 O'Hair (F), Villegas (F), Havret (F), Moore, Poulter, Yang, Marino

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Cameron, Llanelli, via text: "The Masters has its similarities to another great sporting event on this weekend, the Grand National! Diverse field; great when your on the short stuff but so easy to fall away!"

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Clare from Hull via text: "Orlovac I thought you needed a girly message as it seems to be predominately male messages! PS what do the blue birds represent?"
They are supposed to represent Twitter*. These icons are getting a bit of grief today aren't they?!
* Other social networking interweb thingies are available.

Anon via text: Re: 1904, nice one. I thought the puns were flagging for a moment there."

1910: Schwartzel slips back to three under after a five at the 10th. So then, who are you picking for this week? Did you have your millions on McIlroy? I was fancying Donald but then he spoilt it all by winning the par-three contest on Wednesday. No-one has won that contest and won the Masters in the same year. I'm still going for a Kuchar place and... Goosen for the win. As I'm so poor at predictions, by naming these two it means that someone like McIlroy will win it. Like my thinking?

Masters Macca: Things are looking good at the top of the leaderboard for the Euros but some of our brave boys aren't looking quite so tidy. Padraig Harrington bogeyed four in a row to drop to five over, Graeme McDowell doubled the 10th to drop to +1, Lee Westwood is +1 after a bogey at the short 12th, Martin Laird is +3 after 15 and Luke Donald +1 after four. Ian Poulter is, however, riding along nicely at -2 after seven.

1904: McIlroy's lead is now down to two as Goosen claims his second birdie in three holes to move back to five under. Ladies and gentlemen, I know you've been waiting for his return and here he is, it's Masters Macca. However, if he starts to sing the 'Westwood to Hollywood' line from Aztec Camera's "Somewhere In My Heart" every time the world number two is on screen, then he's in big trouble.

Charlie, stuck in the office in London, via text: "Richard O'Hara (18:44) flags up a very valid point Orlovac."
Very good.

LlyrSwansea on Twitter: "Watching Rory McIlroy own the Augusta course is annoyingly making me want to play golf so much."

1855: I forgot to say earlier, if you haven't already, could you please manually refresh this page to consign that Lyon bloke to history. And here's how to get in touch with me during this evening. You can use Twitter (via hashtag #BBCMasters ), you can message me direct @markorlovac or you can text me via 81111 with MASTERS before your message. Go on, I don't want to be lonely you know.

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Carlito, Newcastle via text: "Can we please move away from the Kaymer-based puns?! Maybe start thinking up some Oosthuizen ones?"

TheClapperBored on Twitter: "Is it too early to say that this is McIlroy's year? The answer's yes, but I'm a rebel. It's his year!"

tomjames23 on Twitter: "Locked myself out of the flat and now missing Rory tear up Augusta!"

It's bad news for a Northern Irishman
1844: It is just getting better and better for the 21-year-old McIlroy. A birdie at 15 places him on seven under. Bonkers. Course record anyone?

Richard O'Hara via text: "Who needs tv coverage when you have comprehensive coverage like this, all you need now are better picture icons, they are terrible Orlovac!"
Harsh. I thought they were rather natty!

Anon via text: "The German really does have a mountain to Klaymer."

It's good news for a Northern Irishman
It's good news for an Englishman
It's bad news for a European
1829: It's all going off. What a start from McIlroy. He leads the Masters by two strokes with another birdie, this time at the 14th. Poulter quietly moves up to two under with a two at the par-three sixth. Meanwhile, world number one Martin Kaymer is struggling. He double bogeys the 10th and is four over. Ouch. This is the German's fourth Masters and he has never made the cut. It's not looking good for him at the moment.

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Matt, Epsom via text: "Kaymer kaymer kaymerkaymeleon. He comes and goes, he comes and goes!"

1821: South African Charl Schwartzel, one of the lowest scorers on the European Tour this season and winner of the Joburg Open in January, is now one behind McIlroy after an eagle at the par-five eighth. Goosen joins him with a four at 13.

Latest leaderboard:
-5 McIlroy
-4 Schwartzel
-3 Fisher, Snedeker, Goosen, Kuchar
-2 O'Hair, Villegas, Ishikawa, Garcia

Ross Fisher (in the clubhouse on three under): "Walking off a little bit disappointed. I felt like I played very nicely today. I holed some real good putts. Anytime you can make five birdies on the front nine is very pleasing. I was just trying to take some momentum into the back nine. I holed a monster on 11, I made a great save on 12 out of the front trap but I wanted to birdie the par fives and unfortunatley I didn't do that. It was a shame to drop one on 17 - I just didn't hit a good drive, I pulled it left, had no choice but to lay up, hit a reasonable shot in and hit a nice putt but the greens are very quick if you get above the hole... I had to hole a good five footer for five, but overall I'm pleased with 69."

Rik from Hatch End via text: "Got Goosen at 70/1 and McIlroy at 28/1, can we close play now?"

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Jack, Edinburgh via text: "Re: 16:27, Give the guy a break. It's a Kaymer two halves."
Like that. A lot.

1805: And now McIlroy leads by two as Goosen falls back to three under with a bogey at 12. He needs a few, ahem, Amens at the moment does the South African. Sorry. Elsewhere, world number two Lee Westwood is back to level par after a dropped shot at the eighth while Ian Poulter is one under through five.

It's bad news for a Scotsman
1801: Scotland's Martin Laird, tipped for big things this week after his victory at Bay Hill last month, has had a bit of a nightmare around Amen Corner. He bogeyed the 11th, doubled the 12th but has salvaged things somewhat with a birdie at 13. He's three over.

It's good news for a Northern Irishman
1753: McIlroy leads the Masters outright. Have that. Goosen drops a shot at the 11th and is on four under. McIlroy, who missed the cut last year but tied for 20th on his debut in 2009, leads by one.

michaelhicks27 on Twitter: Despite all his bad publicity over the last couple of years, I still massively want Tiger to win. The man is a genius!

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Gibby, Tunbridge Wells via text: "If Matt Kuchar doesn't win this, I'll eat Greg Norman's hat."
Note: This text was selected completely at random, and it's nothing at all with my last entry. I thank you.

It's good news for a Northern Irishman
It's bad news for an American
It's bad news for a European
1740: And I join the party just as there is a host of movement on the round one leaderboard. Rory McIlroy birdies the 11th to joint lead on five under with Goosen. Kuchar, is this the right time to say that he is my pick for a place this weekend?, had moved up to four under with a birdie at eight but is back to minus three after bogeying the ninth. Garcia slips back to two under with a four at the par-three sixth.

1736: Thank you Sammy. He really is a handsome man you know. Anyway, hello you. On my cycle into work today, the mp3 player delivered a very apt Masters play-list. Too Much Pressure, Heroes, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Green Green Grass Of Home*. It was a fine way to get me in the mood. Masters weekend, you've been missed.
* It's my wife's mp3 player, by the way.

By Sam Lyon

1730: And on that note - and with Europe's last Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal moments away from getting his round under way - I, Sam Lyon, shall bid you adieu. Your friend and mine Mark Orlovac will talk you through the rest of the evening, so make sure you keep your comments and texts coming for him - beautiful scenes. I'll see you all on the 'morrow... until then - adios amigos.

CalWing on Twitter: "David Chang [currently one under through 17) looking very calm, could be a great eachway bet, top odds."

1726: Ross Fisher is your clubhouse leader as the Englishman pars the last to card a three-under-par score of 69. Playing partner Sean O'Hair finishes the day a shot back, Jonathan Byrd one over for his round. One would expect Fisher's score to be overhauled - and sharpish - in these conditions, though, I'd wager.

1720: A brief word on Japan's Ryo Ishikawa - the young prodigy who is donating all his 2011 winnings to help his country overcome the fallout to their recent earthquake disaster - is two under through eight, a birdie at Yellow Jasmine taking him to within three shots of the lead.

It's good news for a European
1716: The boy's firing today, that's for sure, Sergio Garcia picking up his third birdie in his opening five holes to join a pack of five two off the lead.
It's good news for an American
And there's the first birdie of the day for Tiger Woods at six, the former world number one picking up a shot at the par-three Juniper to continue an ominously steady start.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "Rory McIlroy strides (well, more of a lope) onto 10th tee. Barely a ripple of applause. 'The guy's four under, what is this?' says aggrieved fan."

It's bad news for an Englishman
1708: Hhmm... late round stumble from Ross Fisher as he drops a shot at the par-four 17th, making it three bogeys and six birdies for his round today. He slips to three under alongside Camilo Villegas, Hiroyuki Fujita and Matt Kuchar.
It's bad news for a Northern Irishman
It's not great news for Graeme McDowell either, the Northern Irishman firing a five at five to slip to one over par, his playing partner Tiger Woods still level for his round.

alexjjackson on Twitter: "RE: 1627 - How about 'He Kaymer, He Saw, He Faltered'?"

Michael, Letchworth via text: "'Europeans seeing Augusta through Ross-tinted spectacles'?"

It's good news for a Northern Irishman
1702: Or is this to be Rory McIlroy's year of blossom? The Northern Irishman continues a flawless round of his own with a birdie at Carolina Cherry to move to four under through nine and a share of second. Behind him, potential surprise package Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan picks up a shot at eight to go three under.

MikeMcCarthy87 on Twitter: "Re Andrew and Will below - give the guy a break. Where's the Kaymeradery?"

1658: Outright leader! South African Retief Goosen, like Nadia Comaneci on a balance beam lined with sticky stuff, continues not to put a foot wrong in Georgia, picking up another shot at eight to continue his flawless round and move to five under, one ahead of England's Ross Fisher. Goosen has never won here, of course, finishing second in 2002 and 2007 - but he has history in America, with US Open wins in 2001 and 2004. Is this his year again?

Cassettari101 on Twitter: "RE: 1627 - 'He Kaymer all this way for nothing!'"

Sean, Essex via text: "Luke Donald to win, Fred Couples first round leader, £600 return! We can all dream!"

It's bad news for a European
1652: Ah. Bogey-Double Bogey takes the wind right of Padraig Harrington's sails and the Irishman slips to two over and a tie for 50 in these early stages. A rare European blip so far.

It's good news for a European
1647: More joy for the Europeans, Sergio Garcia firing a birdie three at three to go two under alongside Swede Carl Pettersson, who has picked up shots at eight and nine. I couldn't tell you how this is going down at Augusta, but without a major winner in three, you can imagine the Americans aren't exactly cock-a-hoop - a few less "Get in the Hole"s I'd wager. Small mercies.

Andrew, Newcastle via text: "RE: 1627: maybe you could settle for 'He Kaymer Cropper'?"

Will, Canary Wharf, via text: "RE: 1627 - what about 'Kaymer over'??"

1638: So, nearing three hours into the first day's play and it's England's Ross Fisher and South African Retief Goosen - both on a run of three pars - atop the leaderboard on four under, one ahead of Rory McIlroy, similarly on a run of three pars, on three under. American pair Ben Crenshaw (five over) and Mark O'Meara (four over) are holding up the pack at the moment, their Masters hopes threatening to go the way of the dinosaurs right now.

mattlittlechild on Twitter: "Great start from the EUs. Hopefully the big guys can follow suit when they get fully under way!"

It's good news for a European
1631: The people's favourite Sergio Garcia has made a decent start to his Masters tournament, picking up a shot at the par-five second to go one under. Looks like there are some scores to be made today, that's for sure.

It's good news for an American
1627: Matt Kuchar - the tip of an as-it-stands unnamed colleague this week - birdies the snappily-titled Flowering Crab Apple to go two under, two off Ross Fisher and
It's good news for an Englishman
Retief Goosen's lead. England's Lee Westwood does likewise to put that opening-hole bogey firmly to one side and go one under, with Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell buddying up at level
It's bad news for a European
par through two. World number one Martin Kaymer, however, drops a shot at four two slip to two over. My "He Kaymer He Conquered" headline threatening to fall by the wayside.

Oli, Fulham, via text: "I've flown over from London for this. Nicely positioned at Amen Corner, just seen Fisher go past. Come on Ross!!"

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "If you remember, Ross Fisher led early in round one on 2009 debut after four birdies in first eight holes. Ended with 69, but shot a round two 76. Missed cut last year."

1618: A couple of names I haven't mentioned yet, Aaron Baddeley of Australia and Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan move up to two under with birdies at eight and six respectively. They're two shots off joint leaders Ross Fisher and Retief Goosen as it stands.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "Ian Poulter alert - green jumper, white shirt, white/cream strides, white & green shoes. Tasteful, in a minty kind of way."

It's good news for a European
1613: It's been a Steady Eddie start for Ireland's Padraig Harrington, by the way, with pars on the first four holes followed by a birdie at Magnolia. He's one of 11 players on one under, including Brandt Snedeker, Martin Laird, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan.

Iain Carter
BBC Sport's Iain Carter on Twitter: "To confirm no water for Fisher at 12 - it was a bunker. Pars 13 -4 sharing lead with Goosen, Rory one behind."

It's good news for an American
1608: Now now - he was quite a few of your tips before play began, something that didn't look all too clever when he bogeyed four and six, but birdies at seven and eight have brought American Nick Watney back to level par. Impressive resolve, that, from the in-form 29-year-old.

danthespam on Twitter: "Already shaping up to be a classic Masters, Brits making birdies, beautiful weather and big names starting ok."

It's bad news for a European
1601: Martin Kaymer, the world's number one ranked golfer, is also up and running at Augusta, but it's not the finest of starts from the German, a bogey six at the second leaving him one over through two.

It's good news for an Englishman
1556: Looks like Ross Fisher's got away with it at 12, he pars to stay four under and retain a share of the lead with South Africa's Retief Goosen. Rory McIlroy can only par the fifth to end a run of three birdies but he stays third, two shots ahead of nine players on one under. Lee Westwood, meanwhile, bounces back with a birdie at two to return to level par, alongside Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell, who both parred the first.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "'Fore, please, Tiger Woods on the tee' - TW thumps three wood right up middle. GMac [Graeme McDowell] also with 3w but 15 yards behind."

1549: Who's that out on the prowl? It's only the Tiger isn't it. Woods tees off alongside great Northern Ireland hope Graeme McDowell and you can bet that trio (they play alongside Aussie Robert Allenby) will be worth keeping an eye on.

Iain Carter
BBC Sport's Iain Carter on Twitter: "Hearing the Fisher's found the water at 12 - shortest hole on the course bites. He's joint leader with Goosen on four under at the moment."

1544: I went properly flag-tastic there, did you notice?

It's good news for an Englishman
1541: Blimey, Ross Fisher is really powering through the gears now - he picks up another shot at White Dogwood for his fourth birdie in six holes to move four under through 11.
It's bad news for a Scotsman
Retief Goosen, too, has gone all ornithological with a birdie at three to join Rory McIlroy on three under. Scot Martin Laird, meanwhile, is one under through five,
It's bad news for an Englishman
though compatriot Sandy Lyle has dropped a shot at 10 to slip back to one over, with Englishman Lee Westwood also one over having bogeyed the first, paying the price for finding the bunker off the tee.

trundandle on Twitter: "If you don't like golf. Don't talk to me for the next four days."

It's good news for a Northern Irishman
1533: Three in three for Rory McIlroy! The boy wonder from Northern Ireland is having a chicken korma (stormer) out there - a birdie two at four taking him three under and into the lead alongside Ross Fisher. Cracking stuff.

1529: Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood are approaching the first green now alongside American Matt Kuchar. Rob Hodgetts reports from Augusta: "If opening drives are anything to go by Kaymer looks ominous. Powerful & confident. Westwood takes age over ball... and then carves into bunker." Oops.

Iain Carter
BBC Sport's Iain Carter on Twitter: "Can't win it on day 1 but you can lose it. One of the favs Watney +2 after 6 - mind you Tiger went to turn in 40 in 97 & won by 12."

Tom Evison in sunny Brighton via text: "Jin Jeong to win! His sister is my secretary, I've put a ton on it. Follow me, dead certain!"

It's good news for a Northern Irishman
1526: Ross Fisher is not the only UK player tearing up the course at Augusta early doors, either, as Rory McIlroy birdies Flowering Peach to make it two-in-two and two under through three. Positive signs for those hoping for a Brit winner...

Andrew Cotter
BBC Sport's Andrew Cotter on Twitter: "Like at Turnberry in '09, Ross Fisher's wife is expecting a child & he doesn't know what he'll do if things 'happen' during the tournament."

alexcaplan on Twitter: "I feel this could be [Ian] Poulter's day. He performs best with fire in his belly as shown in the Ryder Cup and he is passionate today."

1520: Hands up, who wants a hand making their tip for this weekend, then? How about learning what the experts from TV, radio and the press think? The likes of Peter Alliss, Wayne Grady, Ken Brown and Kevin Garside have leant their thoughts... and you can lend yours there too! Think of it as a chance to upstage the more famed names of the sport from the safety and anonymity of being sat behind your computer, in many ways faceless and unaccountable. Lovely stuff.

It's good news for an Englishman
1511: On the charge! Like a Premier League footballer on a night out, Ross Fisher is getting among the birdies early doors - and another picked up shot at nine makes it five for his round so far, the Englishman three under at the turn.

richeyback on Twitter: "I'm backing Martin Kaymer; he's tweaked his game to suit Augusta and certainly has the putting stroke to post low numbers?"

It's good news for a Scotsman
1505: Sandy Lyle looks to have put those two early bogeys out of his mind as he picks up a shot at eight to go with his birdie at six to move back to level par.
It's good news for a Northern Irishman
Alongside him is Scottish compatriot Martin Laird. Going one better at the moment is hot tip Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irishman firing a four at Pink Dogwood to go one under through two.

Lexy Rose, beautiful Augusta, via text: "I made it out to the Masters! It's beautiful out here! Good luck to my cousin Justin."

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "Did you know Ben Crenshaw's caddie Carl Jackson, 64, is 'looping' (US term) in his 50th Masters? Only Player (52) & Arnie (50) have done more."

1459: Some of you might be wistfully wondering what it's like to play a round of Masters golf at Augusta - and Rob Hodgetts has gone to the trouble of talking you through it, so he has. I recommend you give that a glance, and then indulge in a bit of nostalgia with an alternative look at Masters golf with Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs from 2008. It's somewhat less, erm, official I must warn you.

Steve M, Thorpe Bay, via text: "I've got Ross Fisher at 175/1 - has he peaked too early! Lets hope not."

It's good news for an Englishman
1454: Retief Goosen's stay at the top of the leaderboard is an early one, though, as Ross Fisher birdies Yellow Jasmine to go two under through eight. But for two earlier bogeys, the Englishman is putting together a round of real intent here.

1453: How to hit the ground running at a major lesson #4562 from South Africa's Retief Goosen - stick an eagle two down at the first. Whammy. At this rate, he will finish the day 36 under, which wouldn't be bad. Not bad at all.

1450: Talking of Rickie Fowler, he is among the young American contingent Iain Carter believes has it in him to cause a few waves this week. Nick Watney - a few of you appear to be tipping him - is another, as are Bubba Watson and Ryan Moore. "Weight of numbers suggests European success but, in judging potential winners and each-way payouts, you ignore the home nation at your peril," warns our man.

Ben in Suffolks via text: "Got a big feeling about Paul Casey this weekend. If he plays as he did in the British Open, he'll be right in there!"

1443: A trio of top tips are through the first in Vijay Singh, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott now, by the way - each with a bogey. Inauspicious.

Andrew Cotter
BBC Sport's Andrew Cotter on Twitter: "Overall fav: Mickelson. British contender: Rose. Each-way: Watney. Long-odds each-way: Snedeker. If all fail, we never met. Understood?"

philsmithx on Twitter: "Judging by the conditions and early birdies, I think there's a low one out there today. A 66/65 maybe."

1436: Now then, with 30 players out on the course we've got seven players - headed by England's Ross Fisher - at the top of the leaderboard on one under, and three players - Jonathan Byrd, Ben Crenshaw and Mark O'Meara at the bottom at two over.

DanJules68 on Twitter: "Can't believe no-one has mentioned Anthony Kim yet. Third last year, hits the ball a mile, putts well - and at 50/1."

It's good news for an Englishman
1429: We have an English tournament leader folks! Ross Fisher puts a three and two together to pick up shots at Magnolia and Juniper to go one under through six.
It's good news for a Scotsman
Just the one par in his round so far. Sandy Lyle, meanwhile, picks up a shot at the sixth to move back to one over - while Martin Laird pars the first for a steady start.

JDwiar on Twitter: "Anyone who thinks Tiger won't be in contention is crazy! He knows it's THE tournament and will raise his game to win."

Wozza, Altrincham via text: "It's time for KJ Choi to acquire a nice new Green Jacket. KJ Choi's barmy transatlantic army (of one)!"

1422: This, the 75th year of the Masters, isn't half one for anniversaries and potential omens, by the way. As well as it being 25 years since that Jack Nicklaus victory over Seve Ballesteros, it's 10 years since Tiger Woods put the seal on the Tiger Slam, becoming the only player in history to hold all four majors at the same time. This is Sandy Lyle's 30th Masters tournament, 20 years since Ian Woosnam took on Tom Watson and won, and 15 years since Nick Faldo came from six shots down to beat Greg Norman on a thrilling final day in 1996. The stage is set for another tournament of highlights and history, surely?

1414: Sean O'Hair still atop the leaderboard at one under, by the way, 21 players through the first and 24 players out on the course. Scot Martin Laird is about to get out and about, however, with another hotly-tipped Briton Rory McIlroy out in the next group at 1424, swiftly followed by the likes of Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell. Jubbly.

It's bad news for a Scotsman
1405: Error! As JeremyBear points out, I've mis-read the Masters leaderboard - Sandy Lyle was in fact one over through three - though he has now bogeyed four to lie two over through four. Apologies Sandy fans and, indeed, the great man himself. He's a big fan of these commentaries you know. Possibly.

Chris, Bath, via text: "Forget Mickleson, Woods, Westwood et al. Charl Schwartzel 2011 Masters Champion @ 100-1. I will be laughing all the way to the bank!"

1358: And it's saying something considering recent years when talk of the favourites at a major does not centre around Tiger Woods. A look at recent history tells us why, though. The American is on the longest winless streak of his career - 20 events over the past 17 months - and is without a triumph in the last 10 majors. Should he fail at the Masters, this will become his longest winless streak in majors of his career. But for a man who limped through all four days last year and yet still finished fourth, Augusta is the setting where dreams are made - and 25 years after Jack Nicklaus achieved the 'impossible' with his 18th, and final, major success, who's to bet against Woods returning to winning ways here? Never count him out, says I.

lakeydaz on Twitter: "The Masters is a bit like the National! You need to see how many have fallen after the first round before placing a bet!"

It's bad news for a Scotsman
1351: It's not been a great start for Scotland's Sandy Lyle at Augusta - three holes down, one over. American Jerry Kelly, meanwhile, picks up a shot at two to join Sean O'Hair as the early leader in Georgia. Starting to warm up a bit now.

1346: Of course England's Luke Donald did himself absolutely no favours this week by going and winning the traditional pre-tournament par-three event - in the 51 years the event has been staged since Sam Snead won the inaugural contest in 1960, no par-three winner has gone on to victory in the Masters the same year. Still, the world number four was in confident mood when chatting to our man Ben Dirs ahead of his seventh time around Augusta - and on the back of his WGC Match Play triumph, who can blame him?

CahalAltman on Twitter: "Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Alvaro Quiros my bets. I think its a big hitting week!"

It's good news for an American
1338: Ross Fisher's four at Pink Dogwood, the second, was the only birdie on the course with 12 players through the first... until Sean O'Hair picks up a three at three (Flowering Peach) to take over the sole lead of the 2011 Masters, much to the delight of the early-rising home fans in Georgia.

Walkingonmytoes on Twitter: "Keeps his cool, hits the fairways, his short game is blessed and has a red hot putter. Under the radar-Super '50/1' Steve Stricker!"

1327: Behind Phil Mickelson, the list of potential winners takes on an unusually Brit-dominated look in many ways. "It's now 15 years since Nick Faldo last triumphed at Augusta and the fingers are drumming impatiently for one of the new breed to get on the Masters scoresheet," writes Robin Hodgetts, and there are a fair few names in the mix potentially. Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Martin Laird, Ian Poulter... if one of those isn't battling it out among the leaders come Sunday evening something really will have gone awry won't it?

It's good news for an Englishman
1321: Baboom. Right on cue, Ross Fisher picks up a shot at the second to move back to level par for the tournament. The Englishman in a six-way tie for the early lead - Colombian Camilo Villegas the latest to fall foul of the first hole with a bogey.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "I can report that starters Arnie & Jack both hit good ones off the 1st. "The 2011 Masters has officially begun. Have fun," said Augusta chairman Billy Payne."

Jack, Chester via text: "I haven't heard one person mention Jim furyk. Very happy with my each way bet on him."

It's bad news for an Englishman
1313: Not the greatest of starts for our British pair on the course - Ross Fisher and Sandy Lyle have both bogeyed the first. Byrd, O'Hair and Chung
It's bad news for a Scotsman
all grabbed pars to grab the cherished honour of being able to tell that their grandchildren that - at least - there was a point at which they led the 2011 Masters. Dear Diary stuff.

1308: So no doubting most people's favourite for the tournament this weekend - holder and three-time winner Phil Mickelson, right? The 40-year-old, who won in Houston last week and has 13 top-10 finishes in his 18 appearances at Augusta, is a lefty, hits it long, and is replicating his tactic from his win last year in employing two drivers, one with a fade bias and the other with a draw. Perfect material for Augusta success. And blow me down if he isn't a thoroughly nice bloke too, gawd love him. But Mickelson's is just one name on a long list of potential winners...

jonathanhaggart on Twitter: "My bets - Goosen, Kaymer and Immelman. Was good to see the latter on the leaderboard last week and a 90/1 e/w tickle a good punt."

David via text: "Can't see past [Phil] Mickelson, but my tip is for there to be a hole in one: only 21 in 74 years, but seven in the last seven."

1257: Plenty of chat about the weather this morning - the most cherished of British past-times, of course - and I can tell you that we're expecting bright sunshine all day with highs of around 24 degrees Celsius. From Stuart Hall to Michael Fish - I really am a chameleon of sports commentary styles. Scot Sandy Lyle, in the second group at Augusta, tees off alongside Germany's Alex Cejka and David Chung now - and he and Ross Fisher will provide your only British interest on the course until Martin Laird gets going at 1413.

Iain Carter
BBC Sport's Iain Carter on Twitter: "Sun peeping through - first light at Augusta was very chilly but glorious clear sky."

Tom via text: "Adam Scott to win narrowly from Sergio [Garcia]! Both under the radar with all the talk surrounding Phil and the Brits. Oh and the fact I have bet on these two in every major they have contested since 2004! Surely it is my/their time..."

Cragzee123 on Twitter: "I really want a European to win but my money is on an outsider, Nick Watney."

1246: And first out on the course this morning is the threesome involving England's Ross Fisher, Americans Jonathan Byrd and Sean O'Hair his playing partners today. They are up and running down Tea Olive already - and more chat on today's tee-times from me to come.

Hardpunk on Twitter: "Luke Donald to break the curse."

1241: So around about now in Georgia, legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus will be fulfilling their honorary starter duties, which can only mean one thing... we're minutes away from the start of the year's first major. No sign of Ivor Robson outside of the Open unfortunately - and therefore no introductions in the style of Kermit shouting golfers' names through a kazoo - but Augusta is not without its own foibles. As Justin Rose told our man Robin Hodgetts: "They say, 'Fore please, so-and-so now driving'. So they've shouted 'fore' even before you've hit it... which is pretty unnerving." Or portentous if, say, it's my good self stood over the first tee, obviously.

Ken Brown
BBC Sport's Ken Brown on Twitter: "Chilly but bright morning in Augusta. Big Jack [Nicklaus] and Arnie [Arnold Palmer] will strike the opening shots in just a bit."

1237: So yes, welcome one and all to our coverage of the 2011 Masters from Augusta National. And what a tournament it promises to be. Set fair for four days, arguably one of the finest fields to have ever contested a major in place, and promised headline-makers aplenty. And, dare I say it, no small chance of a British victory. If only one of them could slip a little something into Phil Mickelson's water, anyway. Anyone fancy making an early prediction for us all?

1234: Now, admittedly, I've never played Augusta. And the closest I'll get to playing a Masters tournament is on a video games console - and given I'm not 14, angry at my parents and void of independent wealth, I'll probably be rubbish at that anyway. But any layman would fail not to be enchanted by this most nostalgic of tournaments given five minutes or more in its company surely? The history around it, the heroes it's produced, the tales of heartbreak and ecstasy it has witnessed. Gosh. I'm going all Stuart Hall on you all. (If only). Love it.

1230: Take a walk with me a moment. In your mind's eye, like. Up Magnolia Lane, through the clubhouse and it's narrow hallway lined with photos of past champions, under the Big Oak Tree and out on to the course. Augusta National. The first tee at Tea Olive, the taxing fourth hole to the drive on seven, Amen Corner, the stretch and the likes of Chinese Fir and Redbud, hit the Holly hole at 18... the Green Jacket. Oh that Green Jacket. This is The Masters, in its 75th year, and it's as competitive, compelling and celestial as ever. Excited?

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see also
McIlroy & Quiros set Masters pace
08 Apr 11 |  Golf
Masters day one photos
08 Apr 11 |  Golf
Mickelson set for Masters defence
07 Apr 11 |  Golf
Masters fourth-round tee times
10 Apr 11 |  Golf
Donald wins par-three at Augusta
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
Fire forces Westwood jet to land
05 Apr 11 |  Golf
Laird focused on 'fun' at Masters
05 Apr 11 |  Golf
Poulter discounts Woods challenge
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
Mickelson seals Houston Open win
04 Apr 11 |  Golf
Augusta experience key - Westwood
03 Apr 11 |  Golf
McDowell prepares for Masters bid
03 Apr 11 |  Golf

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