IT was a dramatic first day at the Masters as Jordan Spieth hit top form at the course he loves and defending champion Sergio Garcia had a club golfer meltdown.

Spieth, winner in 2015 and almost the 2016 champion, fired a superb six-under 66 to lead by two from miracle man Tony Finau and the consistent Matt Kuchar.

It would have been three bar a bogey at the last that will give the rest of the field some hope.

Saddest sight of the day was defending champion spinning five chips off the green and into the water at the 15th to run up a 13 on his way to an 81 and almost certainly missed cut.

Rory McIlroy lurks dangerously three off the pace and two late birdies salvaged a 73 for Tiger Woods who will need to go low today if he has a chance of competing at the top of the leaderboard.

Antepost favourite Spieth is now a biggest 2-1 with the likes of Ladbrokes and bet365 while McIlroy, bidding to complete a career Grand Slam, is 11-2 with bet365 and Betfred.

Kuchar and Phil Mickelson, who hit 70, are both 16-1 at boylesports while Woods is out to 40-1 at bet365.

Ace Venturer's two ball tip for members won yesterday as Paul Casey beat Jason Day by one and he'll have another one later.

Latest scores: –6 J Spieth (US);  -4 T Finau (US), M Kuchar (US); -3 H Stenson (Swe), P Reed (US), A Hadwin (Can), C Hoffman (US), H Li (Chn),R McIlroy (NI), R Cabrera-Bello (Sp); -2 B Weisberger (Aut), Z Johnson (US), M Leishman (Aus), R Fowler (US), P Mickelson.


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