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Video: Nightmare start as Ernie Els hit for six at opening Masters hole

By Phil Casey

Four-time Major winner Ernie Els suffered a nightmare start to the Masters, taking an incredible six putts on the opening hole.

Els, who thought he had conquered the dreaded "yips" earlier this season, looked set to save par on the 445-yard par four after missing the green with his approach but hitting an excellent pitch.

However, the 46-year-old missed from three feet and needed five more attempts to get the ball in the hole, the last two being taken with one hand as his frustration soared.

The resulting nine is the highest score on the hole in Masters history, surpassing the eights taken by Olin Browne and Scott Simpson in 1998, Billy Casper in 2001 and Jeev Milkha Singh in 2007.

Els, who finished second at Augusta National in 2000 and 2004, somehow regrouped sufficiently to hit his approach to the par-five second to 25 feet, but three-putted for par to remain five over.

The South African eventually finished with a nine over par 81.

Read more: Live Masters 2016 - scores, leaderboard, tee-off times from Augusta Day 2 - Rory McIlroy battles as Jordan Spieth sets pace

Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke fired a three over par 75, the 2011 Open champion's round containing three birdies and six bogeys.

Two-time Major winner Sandy Lyle - Masters champion in 1988 - and Larry Mize, the 1987 Green Jacket winner, are both a shot behind Ulsterman Clarke on four over.

Former Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam, 1991 Masters champion, had a 10 over par 82.

Amateur Paul Chaplet was a shot further back.

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