Tiger Woods produced a typical moment of magic to jump into a share of the lead on the opening day of the 83rd Masters.
Seeking a first major title since 2008 and a first win at Augusta National since 2005, Woods had quietly reached the 14th hole in two under par when he pulled his tee shot on the par four into the trees.
However, the 14-time major winner spotted a gap high in the pines and threaded his second shot perfectly through the opening and on to the green, where he holed from 25 feet for an unlikely birdie.
That took the 43-year-old to three under par and into a tie for the lead with former champion Adam Scott and South Africa’s Justin Harding, who were safely in the clubhouse, as well as playing partner Jon Rahm, Patton Kizzire and Gary Woodland.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 11, 2019
Woods split the fairway on the opening hole with a drive of 317 yards, but after a mediocre approach to 30 feet, his birdie attempt never threatened the hole and he settled for a stress-free par.
Another ideal drive on the second was followed by an approach into a greenside bunker, but Woods got up and down for birdie and then saved par on the next after his second shot trickled over the back of the green.
Woods bogeyed the fifth after finding a fairway bunker off the tee on a hole lengthened by 40 yards for 2019 and missed from short range for birdies on the sixth and eighth, but holed from four feet on the ninth.
The former world number one was 33rd after an opening round of 74 before claiming his fourth green jacket in 2005, since when the last 13 champions at Augusta National were inside the top 10 after the opening round.
Rory McIlroy, who needs to win the Masters to complete a career grand slam, bogeyed the first after a wild drive into the trees which was almost identical to his opening tee shot in the final round 12 months ago, but birdied the third and recovered from another bogey on the sixth to birdie the eighth.
McIlroy dropped shots on the 10th and 11th but stopped the rot with a two-putt birdie on the 13th.
Earlier in the day, Gary Player was able to maintain bragging rights after joining Jack Nicklaus in getting the 83rd Masters under way.
Player and Nicklaus continued their role as honorary starters by each hitting a tee shot on the opening hole, with 83-year-old Player producing the longest – and most accurate – drive by around 30 yards from 79-year-old Nicklaus.