Westwood leads the way in Augusta

England’s Lee Westwood is the 4/1 favourite to win the Masters after securing a one-shot lead at the end of the first day of play.

He shot a five-under-par 67 – matching his best-ever score at Augusta National – to sit atop the leaderboard, just ahead of South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Sweden’s Peter Hanson, who are on four-under.

Going into the tournament many pundits predicted it would be a showdown between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, but Westwood warned that this would not be the case.

The American won his first tournament in 30 months at Bay Hill a fortnight ago, while McIlroy will be hoping to banish the demons from his spectacular fourth-day collapse at last year’s Masters, when he was four in front only to finish tied 15th with a closing round of 80.

However, the duo struggled on day one. Woods could only manage level par after bogeying the final two holes, with McIlroy just one shot better off on one-under after setting off with a double bogey.

Consequently, McIlroy is 11/2 second favourite to claim his first Green Jacket, with Woods at 15/2.

This is Westwood’s 56th attempt at winning a major and undoubtedly the pressure is going to increase as the tournament progresses.

However, the Englishman admits he is confident and is delighted to have played himself into contention.

“There was no weakness out there in my game,” said Westwood after his first round.

“I hit it close, hit a lot of fairways and rolled in some nice putts.

“I’ve been playing well all year so I was pretty confident. But trying not to let myself get carried away. I just wanted to come out and start steady and strong and play my way into the tournament, which I’ve done.”

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