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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 00:25 GMT 01:25 UK
DiMarco sets pace at damp Augusta
Chris DiMarco
-4 C DiMarco (USA, after 14 holes)
-3 M Hensby (Aus), L Donald (Eng, 14)
-2 , V Singh (Fij, 11), R Palmer (USA, 16), R Goosen (SA, 13), P Mickelson (USA, 11), S Appleby (Aus, 11)
American Chris DiMarco led the rain-hit Masters on four under when play was stopped for the day at Augusta.

DiMarco had played 14 holes when the hooter sounded at 1922 local time (0022 BST) after more than five hours had been lost due to heavy rain.

Australian Mark Hensby was on three under in the clubhouse, alongside England's Luke Donald after 14 holes.

Vijay Singh, defending champion Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen were on two under with Tiger Woods two over.

Sixty-eight players were still out on the course and will resume the opening round at Augusta National from 0945 (1445 BST) on Friday.

DiMarco, who led for two rounds last year, began with a bogey at the 10th but picked up shots at 13 and 15 and then fired three straight birdies after the turn to take the outright lead.

The much-touted battle of the "big four" - Woods, Singh, Mickelson and Ernie Els - failed to materialise.

Singh and Mickelson played their parts with steady rounds but Woods was forced to scramble and world number three Els, of South Africa, was struggling on three over after 11 holes.

Woods dropped a shot at the 11th, his second, and was then unlucky to see his 15-foot eagle putt on the par-five 13th slip past the hole, off the green and into Rae's Creek.

The three-time champion opted to drop back where he had hit the putt from and got down in two for another bogey.

Luke Donald
Donald led the European charge at Augusta

He then pulled a shot back at the long 15th but was again unfortunate when his approach to the first, his 10th, hit the pin and bounced back into a bunker, leading to another bogey five.

After the round, Woods was the subject of a lengthy inquiry by rules officials for an illegal putting stance on the 14th before getting the all-clear.

Els, runner up to Mickelson last year, dropped four shots on his front nine with only a solitary birdie to show for his efforts.

England's Donald led the European charge with five birdies and two bogeys on his first visit to Augusta.

Donald's countryman and fellow debutant David Howell carded a level-par 72 in the first group which eventually teed off at 1830 BST.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington dropped a shot on 14 just before the hooter went to slip back to level alongside Dane Thomas Bjorn, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and two-time champion Bernhard Langer among others.

England's Ian Poulter was one over after 14 with former champions Sandy Lyle and Jose Maria Olazabal on two over.

But England's three-time winner Nick Faldo was forced to walk in after eight holes with back spasms which prevented him from carrying on.

European Ryder Cup team-mates Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia were on three over halfway through their rounds.

But fellow Detroit star Paul Casey, sixth on his Augusta debut last year, plummeted to a seven-over 79 after notching up a quintuple-bogey 10 via the water on the 13th.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell also struggled on his debut and limped to seven over after 16.

British amateur champion Stuart Wilson, of Scotland, found the Augusta National hard work and carded a 10-over 82.

Six-time champion Jack Nicklaus reached one under before slipping back to four over after 12 as double winner Tom Watson carded a 77 and triple champion Gary Player was 15 over after 16.

But the worst round of the day went to 1970 Masters champion Billy Casper, who amassed a round of 106, 34 over par.

The 73-year-old was later disqualified for failing to hand in his card.

Links to more Masters 2005 stories


Interview: Nick Faldo

Interview: England's David Howell


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