THE MASTERS / Jordan Spieth reels off five consecutive birdies to lead by two

Jordan Spieth channels Jordan Spieth to surge to the first round lead at The 2018 Masters.

It feels like Jordan Spieth has been around forever. He’s already had a career full of incredible victories and one big major heartbreak which would be the envy of other tour pros.

At just 24-years it’s amazing that we can somehow talk about ‘the old Spieth’ or ‘that Jordan Spieth type of golf’, but that’s exactly what we saw during today’s opening round of the 2018 Masters Tournament.

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Spieth ground out a good, but not great opening 12 holes that included two very important par saves at the 11th and 12th holes at Augusta National.

A gritty up-and-down from the back of the 11th green was followed by another from the front bunker at the famous par-3 12th hole. Walking to the par-5 13th tee at 2-under par, Spieth put his foot down and carded five consecutive birdies to take a four shot lead by the time he got to the 18th hole.

Spieth’s pulled tee shot at the 18th resulted in a bogey but the lead was established and a two-stroke lead has him in the early pole position to claim a second green jacket.

Since 2014, Spieth is 32-under par at The Masters, has carded the most birdies and eagles and has had the most rounds (9) where he has either led or had a share of the lead.

In what was perhaps the craziest pre-Masters story we can remember, Tony Finau somehow not only played the first round but shot a remarkable 4-under par 68 to sit in a tie for second place along with fellow American Matt Kuchar.

Finau had an MRI Thursday morning on the ankle he dislocated while celebrating a hole-in-one during yesterday’s Par-3 Contest. Given the all clear to play, Finau managed the ankle the whole way around and despite bogeying the first hole, played some superb golf to be amongst the leaders.

“It maybe masked a bit of the pressure as I had to worry about my foot,” Finau said. “I had to compensate a little but because hitting some shots I knew I couldn’t put the full weight I want to on the foot.”

Marc Leishman was the best of the four Australians in the field and for a time took a share of the lead with Henrik Stenson before a double-bogey at the 15th hole pushed him back down the leaderboard. Leishman’s second to the par-5 sailed over the green and the chip shot coming back found the water at the front of the green.

Another to find trouble at the 15th hole was defending champion Sergio Garcia.

Garcia hit his second shot into the water and dropped back for a full wedge shot into the green. Then went full “Tin Cup” and spun four more golf balls into the water. The resulting 8-over par 13 strokes plummeted Garcia to the bottom of the leader board with all hope of another green jacket gone.

Cameron Smith set himself up with a solid 1-under par 71, four shots better than fellow Aussies Jason Day and Adam Scott who carded just three birdies between them and finished with 3-over par 75’s.

Tiger Woods could only manage par against the four par-5s at Augusta National and ground out a 1-over par 73 to keep himself well in the tournament.

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