Justin Rose fired a five-under-par 67 to claim the clubhouse lead after the first day of the 2004 Masters.
The 23-year-old Englishman carded six birdies to take a two-shot lead over US duo Chris DiMarco, who hit a hole-in-one at the 6th, and Jay Haas.
One shot further back are Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and American Chris Riley.
Germany's Alex Cejka is tied with KJ Choi, Chris DiMarco and Tommy Haas on 69 with Ernie Els back at two under.
European Ryder Cup stars Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Phillip Price are in a six-strong group at one under.
Pre-tournament favourite Tiger Woods struggled throughout but finally picked up a birdie on the 15th on Friday to finish three over par, alongside Vijay Singh.
Defending champion Mike Weir endured an even worse start, however, to shoot a dismal seven-over-par 79.
Rose, playing his second Masters after making his debut last year, birdied Augusta National's first two holes and last two holes in a fine display of accurate approach work.
Clarke, who wore an extravagant pair of pink trousers, carded four birdies and two bogeys in an entertaining round.
But the news was less good for Europe's top-ranked player, Padraig Harrington.
The Irishman, who has been in good form of late, made just one birdie to offset his three bogeys and is back in the pack on two over.
Sweden's Freddie Jacobson joined Harrington on that mark, although he will be the happier after coming home in 34.
Sandy Lyle, the first British golfer to win at Augusta, made a solid start to his 2004 Masters campaign by carding a level-par 72. The 46-year-old Scot mixed three bogeys with three birdies.
Three-time winner Nick Faldo struggled to a round of 76, while 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie faired one shot worse, finishing at five over.
But European Ryder Cup captain Langer fared much better on what was an undeniably good day for the continent. The two-time champion carded a 71 to join Montgomerie at one under in the clubhouse.
One shot further back is Sergio Garcia. The 23-year-old Spaniard, who partnered Langer, dropped a shot at the last to spoil some of the good work his eagle on 15 had set up.
The talented English duo of Paul Casey and Ian Poulter will be less happy with their efforts, as they carded disappointing 75s to trail Rose by eight shots.
Denmark's Thomas Bjorn has it all to do after slipping to eight over par, while English debutant Brian Davis at 10 over is left with only pride to play for.