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Lawrie takes clubhouse lead

Paul Lawrie made his first round in The Masters since 2004 one to remember at Augusta National today.

In five previous appearances at the event, the 43-year-old Scot had never managed an eagle and never broken 70.

But Lawrie changed all that and set the early clubhouse target with a three-under-par 69, although a closing bogey left him two off the lead with Swede Henrik Stenson reaching the turn in a sparkling 31.

Aberdeen's 1999 Open champion, who earned himself a return by climbing back into the world's top 50 little more than a year after falling outside the top 270, broke his eagle duck at the 510-yard 13th - and then had to wait only two holes for his next one.

That took him to three under - he had earlier three-putted the long eighth for a bogey six - and he then added a birdie on the 440-yard 17th before slipping up at the last.

Stenson is down at 171st in the rankings less than three years after reaching fourth, but his 2009 Players Championship victory gave him a seventh trip to the tournament and he eagled both the second and eighth in a spectacular opening.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, striving to re-ignite his career, had been at the top of the leaderboard when he sank an eight-foot eagle putt on the 575-yard second, but with five to play he was back to level par.

World number one Luke Donald was a disappointing two over after seven holes and Justin Rose, winner of the season's second world championship last month, followed nine straight pars with a bogey at the 495-yard par-four 10th - the hole where McIlroy had taken seven en route to a closing 80 last year.

McIlroy gave himself another bad memory of Augusta when he started with a double-bogey six. After driving into the right-hand trees, his second shot off pine straw - and with a twig behind it - failed to make the fairway.

And after hitting a running third on to the green, but well short of the flag, he three-putted. With Stenson still six under after 13, the 22-year-old was already eight back and four behind Woods, who remained two under with six to play.


From Belfast Telegraph