Masters 2020: Paul Casey Puts Clubhouse Leader into Battle with Tiger Woods

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-7 P Casey (Eng); -5 W Simpson (US), X Schauffele; -4 L Westwood (Eng), L Oosthuizen (SA), H Matsuyama (Jpn), P Reed (US) Other selected: -3 J Rahm (Spa), T Finau (US); -2 B DeChambeau (USA)

Englishman Paul Casey put the early clubhouse's lead at seven below par during the first round of the Masters.

Casey & # 39; s bogey-free 65 in Augusta featured five birdies and an eagle.

Defending champion Tiger Woods also looked back to some of his best forms with a 68, while pre-tournament favorite Bryson DeChambeau fights back after an early battle to shoot 70.

An electrical storm saw the game pause for three hours, so many players will not complete their round on Thursday

One of the possible issues facing Augusta National in this unprecedented staging of a Fall Masters is daylight, with no leeway to continue late into the evening.

Players were already scheduled to start with two tee & # 39; s, from the first and 10th in the first two rounds, to account for the shorter days after the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic had moved from its usual April slot.

Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland and world number one Dustin Johnson are among the later starters who will be back on Friday morning to make it to the finish line.

Americans Webb Simpson and Xander Schauffele are halfway through two next to Casey & # 39; s lead with five under par podium on the first day.

Lee Westwood from England is back next to Woods, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, South African Louis Oosthuizen and 2018 champion Patrick Reed.

Casey took his best major finish earlier this year when he tied for second at the US PGA Championship in August and got off to a blistering start with Augusta.

The 43-year-old birdied his opening hole, the par-four 10th, and was four under after seven, then took the lead with an eagle on par five seconds.

He took a stunning approach to four feet and bore into the putt to get to six under par before adding another birdie on par three sixth.

"I know this golf course better than most, my first Masters was 2004. It's a golf course I enjoy playing on," said Casey, admitting the absence of Augusta's customers another test.

"What I desperately want is for people to flow through the gates to see myself and others play golf, but until that happens I'll make the most of it."

Fellow Englishman Westwood made five birdies on the first nine, but the former world number one dropped a shot on the short 12th before mating his way home.

Woods flies up. while DeChambeau grinds

Five-time Champion Woods' best finish in the six events he's played since golf returned from lockdown is 37th in the US PGA Championship.

] But Woods in Augusta is a different animal, and the 44-year-old began his quest for a record sixth Green Jacket in a controlled fashion.

The 15-time Grand Champion, starting on the 10th tee, carded three birdies in his first seven holes and added another when he hit the turn to post his best opening round at the Masters.

"There was a lot of difference: both tees, then we had a long weather delay and got out on a golf course with no customers," Woods said.

"It was so different, not only the look but also the energy – there is no roar. But we can compete for a Green Jacket this week, which seemed unlikely earlier this year.

"I understand how to play on this golf course. It's a job that offers experience. ”

Despite Woods returning to Augusta as the defending champion, all the hype building up around US Open champion DeChambeau and his approach went with great blows.

The American's coach, Mike Schy, said earlier this week that "softer" fairways would suit him, but DeChambeau was off the tee early and struggled to get one.

He was forced to produce an impressive par save on 11, his second hole, after hitting a driveway in the pines to the left, but he could didn't dig himself out of trouble after finding the trees again at 13, making a double bogey seven after hitting his approach too hard and then using a chip.

DeChambeau found some calm when his round threatened to unravel elen by sinking consecutive birdies on the par-5 15th and par-3 16th, then finished strong with birdies at eight and nine to leave himself in second place.

The number six in the world chose not to use the 48-inch driver that he was recently testing and said afterwards that he thought he could clear all bunkers with his usual 45-inch model.

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