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Cam Smith makes fine start at the Masters

Cameron Smith has made light of a double-bogey opening to his Masters challenge, powering back to set the pace down the home stretch of his first round.

The Australian, right up there among the favourites for the green jacket following his Players Championship triumph, showed exactly why on Thursday as he birdied four of five holes going into the turn at Augusta.

When he birdied the treacherous 12th as well over the water on Amen Corner, sinking an 11-footer, the Queenslander found himself joint-leader of the tournament on three under par alongside Korea’s Sungjae Im.

It was particularly impressive considering the calamity that befell the 28-year-old Smith at the first hole.

He found the bunker with an errant tee shot, had to blast out of the sand on to the fairway and then overcooked his approach which sailed over the back of the green.

Smith chipped up impressively but there was a big sigh from the galleries when the best putter in the game saw his seven-footer lipped out.

Further trouble came at the par-five second when he found sand again off the tee and ended up requiring a nine-footer to save par.

Sinking that putt felt imperative and Smith got back on track with a piece of magic at the fifth.

After missing the dance floor, his delicate chip from greenside rolled in for a 21ft birdie that really fired him.

At the next, he nearly holed his tee shot, leaving it just inches away for a tap-in birdie and two more arrowed approaches at the eighth, to 8ft, and the ninth, to 5ft, left him as joint-leader among a gaggle of players on two under.

Among the early Australian starters, the 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott also made a solid start, reaching the turn at level par with one birdie and one bogey.

Min Woo Lee, the first Aussie on the course on his Masters debut, had a rare old roller-coaster ride, with five birdies being offset by a double bogey and four bogeys in his one-over 73.

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