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Leishman grabs Masters lead, Woods in the mix
AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - So much for local knowledge at the Masters.
David Lynn had never played in the first major of the year. He was two shots back.
With all eyes on Tiger Woods, two unheralded players were ahead of him on the leaderboard Thursday.
Leishman shot a 6-under 66 and surged to the front with four straight birdies on the back side starting at No. 13. Not bad, considering the Australian had missed the cut in his only other Masters appearance in 2010.
“The first time I was here,” he recalled, “I was like a bit of a deer in headlights, I guess. I found myself looking around a little bit too much and not concentrating on getting the ball in the hole.”
He was hardly on a roll coming into Augusta, having missed the cut in his two previous PGA Tour events. But it all came together, for one day at least, amid the azaleas and towering Georgia pines.
“To be sitting here is pretty cool,” Leishman said. “But it’s only Thursday afternoon, so a lot of golf to play.”
No Australian has ever won the Masters.
Lynn, an Englishman, showed his runner-up finish in last year’s PGA Championship was no fluke. Under gray skies with a growing chance of rain, he birdied four of five holes around the turn and rolled in a testy 15-foot putt at the final hole to save par.
He hardly looked like a Masters rookie.
“It’s about playing the percentages,” Lynn said. “When I was on the ninth, I turned to my caddie and said, `We’re leading the Masters.’ He just looked at me and smiled. I told him, `I’d rather be leading it Sunday afternoon.’ But it’s not a bad thing to see your name up there leading the Masters. That’s always something I can look back on.”
Jamie Donaldson turned in the shot of the day, acing the 180-yard sixth for the 24th hole-in-one in Masters history. He is only the fifth player to make a 1 at the hole known as Juniper, with its towering tee box and a green at the bottom of the hill. Donaldson was the first to do it since Chris DiMarco in 2004.
Sergio Garcia was making an afternoon charge, pushing his score to 5 under with back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th holes.
The Spaniard, still seeking his first major title at age 33, has often struggled with Augusta’s tricky greens. He has only two top 10 finishes in 14 previous Masters.
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