Poor start for Lyle at The Masters

Shortening the opening hole at Augusta by 10 yards did nothing to help Sandy Lyle today as he began The Masters with a double-bogey six.

Shortening the opening hole at Augusta by 10 yards did nothing to help Sandy Lyle today as he began The Masters with a double-bogey six.

Scotland’s only representative in the 96-strong field, the 1988 champion hooked his drive into the trees and had to do the same with his second shot in an attempt to find the green.

Lyle managed the shape but his ball had far too much on it and, from over the green, he was left with an almost impossible chip.

The flag was on the back shelf of the 445-yard hole but the 51-year-old went all the way off the front, chipped back to six feet and missed that.

It continued an unsuccessful year for Lyle so far. He was, of course, overlooked for the Ryder Cup captaincy in January.

In the group ahead, Ian Woosnam had almost birdied the hole, his 20-foot attempt just curling in front of the cup.

Woosnam, who after Lyle and back-to-back victories for Nick Faldo became the fourth successive British winner in 1991, was the first player to tee off in the tournament.

He was not the first to hit a shot, though. Arnold Palmer acted as honorary starter again and his ceremonial drive found the fairway some 200 yards away.

The first four birdies all came on the long second - and one of them was from England's Ross Fisher, on his Augusta debut.

Woosnam’s American playing partners Briny Baird and Chez Reavie also made four - and so did Tim Clark, the South African who won yesterday’s par-three competition and is out to be the first player to go on and capture The Masters in the same week.

Lyle could only par the hole like Woosnam.

Conditions were perfect, with hardly a breath of wind and pleasant temperature after the cold of earlier in the week.

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