DiMarco leads Masters at Augusta

The 69th US Masters finally got underway following a near five-and-a-half hour delay because of bad weather on Thursday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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Georgia:The 69th US Masters finally got underway following a near five-and-a-half hour delay because of bad weather on Thursday. Australian Stuart Appleby was one of the first players to make a move up the leaderboard. He made a strong start, moving to two under par after three holes, and maintained that score until play was suspended with Appleby having played 11 holes. Good performance One of the longest putts of the day was made by Japan's Shingo Katayama, who produced this "bomb" on the fifth to impress playing partners Jack Nicklaus and Jay Haas. Katayama was at even par after 12 holes. One of the big names tipped for a good performance was South African Retief Goosen. He lived up to his billing as one of the favourites by moving to three under par, before dropping back to two under when play was suspended with Goosen having played 13 holes. Another of the big names to make a move on day one was world number one Vijay Singh. The Fijian made a slow but steady start, before edging up the leaderboard, courtesy of a few welcome birdies. Singh was at two under par after 11 holes. Strong contenders Singh and Phil Mickelson were the only two players of "The Big Four" to make a good start to the 69th Masters. With Tiger Woods slipping to two over par after 12 holes, and Ernie Els dropping to three over after 11, it was left to Mickelson and Singh to do justice to their pre-tournament billing. Mickelson, the defending champion, produced some good putting to go to two under par after 11 holes. The European challenge on day one was led by Luke Donald. Crucial rounds The Englishman was also tipped to do well at Augusta this week and showed why by holing out from off the green at the fourth, to go with a couple more birdies, before the suspension saw Donald head to the clubhouse on three under par, after 14 holes. The clubhouse leader is Australian Mark Hensby, who returned a score of three under par 69. Hensby was one of only a few players to complete their rounds and he will be more than happy that he won't have to get up early on Friday to finish off his round. For the moment, though, the tournament leader is American Chris DiMarco on four under par. DiMarco, who teed off at the par-four 10th, picked up shots at the first, second and third holes to get to four under after 14 holes when fading light ended play for the day. 68 players were still out on the course and will resume the opening round at Augusta National on Friday.

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