Indifferent front nine for Woods as Leishman, Singh set early pace

Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh were setting the pace during one round of the Masters, while Tiger Woods had a mixed start.

Tiger Woods at the Masters   -  Getty Images

Tiger Woods made an indifferent start through nine holes on his first Masters outing in three years, while Marc Leishman and veteran Vijay Singh were making the early running at Augusta.

Woods' last appearance at the season-opening major came in 2015 due to a succession of back injuries, but a return to form and fitness means the four-time champion is the main draw this weekend.

It had been a promising start from the American, who birdied the third after putting his approach to within five feet, but that momentum was immediately stemmed when he found the greenside bunker at the fourth and saw his par putt slide left of the hole.

Another bogey followed at the fifth and Woods was one over through nine.

In general, birdies were proving hard to come by early in round one, as firm, fast greens and tricky wind gusts provided the famous Augusta course with plenty of defence.

But one of Woods' playing partners Leishman was proving an exception and he was level with Singh – the 2000 champion –  at three under par, one shot clear of Henrik Stenson.

The Australian birdied the second and followed up with a tickling five-footer for a further gain at the third, before draining another at the seventh having scrambled for par at the sixth.

Singh had come firing out of the blocks by going three under through his opening four holes, only for back-to-back bogeys at six and seven to halt his momentum.

But he gained those shots back with birdies at the 11th and 13th.

Stenson was one shot off the pace having made birdies at the fourth and seventh.

Elsewhere, Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman were among the chasing pack at one under, while defending champion Sergio Garcia was toiling at two over - a double bogey at seven not helping his cause.

Jason Day was enduring a nightmare start at four over through seven, while US PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas – having birdied the second – was one over through nine.

The likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson are among the late starters at Augusta.