Woods starts with a par as Singh makes early running at Augusta

Vijay Singh was the surprise early leader of the Masters as Tiger Woods overcame a poor opening tee shot to par the first at Augusta.

Tiger Woods at the 2018 Masters   -  Getty Images

Tiger Woods made a somewhat unconvincing start to his first Masters round in three years, but still registered an opening par following a poor first tee shot at Augusta National.

Having regained form and fitness following a host of back surgeries, Woods is the undoubted star turn this week as he seeks a fifth Masters title - almost 10 years on from his last major success.

The former world number one made a shaky start on a glorious Thursday morning in Georgia, dragging his opening tee shot to the left in the company of Marc Leishman and Tommy Fleetwood.

However, Woods saved par in style, with a fine recovery shot to the edge of the green followed by a superb lag putt that left a simple tap-in for a four.

There were two high-profile names - defending champion Sergio Garcia and Justin Thomas - in the group immediately behind Woods, with Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson and Jason Day due to follow them off the first tee.

The likes of Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson were all among the later starters on day one.

Woods' Augusta return may be dominating the headlines, but it was another former winner of the green jacket, Vijay Singh, who made the initial running.

The 55-year-old Fijian, a winner of this event 18 years ago, birdied the first, second and fourth holes to reach three under par.

Another veteran ex-champion, Mark O'Meara, was the only other player in red figures early on.