Veteran Watson shows young guns how it's done at Augusta
By DP Peters Apr 8, 2010, 21:28 GMT
Augusta, Georgia - Tom Watson turned back the clock as he fired a five-under-par 67 on Thursday to take a share of the lead midway through the first round of the US Masters at Augusta.
The 60-year-old American, the winner at Augusta in 1977 and 1981, birdied three of the last four holes to finish on 5-under-par, tied at the top with twice former champion Phil Mickelson, Englishman Lee Westwood and US PGA champion YE Yang.
World No 1 Tiger Woods, who captured most of the headlines in the build-up to the event as he returns after five months out following a sex scandal, teed off in the penultimate group.
But Watson, who criticized Woods for letting down those who held him up as a role model, showed the four-time Masters champion how to do it with his best ever round at the Masters and continued a fairytale year that saw him go so close to winning the British Open last summer.
Watson birdied the first hole and after a par at the second hole, then picked up a birdie at the third to go to 2-under-par.
From then on, it was pars all the way for the veteran American until the par-five 15th hole, which he birdied, before a birdie at the par-three 16th hole took him to 4-under.
Watson was not content with that, though, as he birdied the ever- difficult 18th hole to card a 5-under-par 67 to set the early standard.
And the American paid tribute to the efforts of his son, Michael, who caddied for his father.
'It's been a wonderful week,' Watson said. 'My son said to me: Dad, show me. Show me you can still play this golf course.' You know what, I wanted to show him I can still play the golf course.'
The fast, firm conditions played into Watson's hands and the American took advantage to take a share of the early lead.
'It gets me back to maybe thinking that that's the way the course was originally designed to be played,' Watson said.
At one stage it was a golden oldie leaderboard when Fred Couples birdied the first two holes and two-time former champion Bernhard Langer moved onto 3-under-par through seven holes.
Langer dropped two shots in the last two holes but still finished on 1-under-par to be the leading German, while Martin Kaymer recorded a disappointing 76 to be 4-under.
Of the other early finishers, American Anthony Kim finished on 3- under-par, while in-form Ernie Els, who has won twice in recent weeks, recorded a 1-under-par 71.