Friday, 19 March 2010
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie continued to come to terms with the demands of Augusta National Golf Club, carding a 73 in the opening round of the 65th Masters tournament, his best score in his third competitive round over the famous Georgia course.

The 32 year old Scot’s one over par effort left him well placed in the pack, but some eight shots behind runaway leader Chris DiMarco, the 32 year old American, who thrilled the huge galleries on his Masters debut with a scintillating 65.

There was not such a show of fireworks from Lawrie, but his steady golf took him to the turn in one over par 37, his only dropped shot of the front nine coming at the 435 yard fifth hole.

Another shot went at the tenth but the Scot, who memorably triumphed at Carnoustie in 1999 in a play-off with Jean Van de Velde and Justin Leonard, gritted his teeth and battled back with birdies at the two par fives on the back nine, the 13th and 15th. A par three followed at the short 16th but Lawrie bogeyed the 17th to be home in 36.

Another European Tour player to have completed his round was the 1988 champion Sandy Lyle. The Scot, who has missed the cut in four of his last six outings at Augusta, gave himself the chance of competing at the weekend with an opening 74.

Much of the damage for Lyle came at the notorious par three 12th where he stumbled to a double-bogey five but he rallied well in the closing stages, covering the final seven holes in level par figures.

There was no such trouble for DiMarco, who recovered from the loss of a shot at the third to rattle in seven birdies in the remaining 15 holes, including four in five holes from the fifth, to keep alive his dream of picking up the Green Jacket on his debut in the tournament.

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