Masters 2018: Jordan Spieth shows Tiger Woods how to do it as he storms to top of leaderboard with under-par 66

JORDAN SPIETH gave Tiger Woods a harsh reminder that time has not stood still after the four-time champion struggled on his return to Augusta.

Woods turned back the clock as he played his first Masters round in 1,090 days.

 Jordan Spieth is top of leaderboard, as he hits under-par 66 at Augusta

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Jordan Spieth is top of leaderboard, as he hits under-par 66 at Augusta
 Tiger Woods struggled as he played his first Masters round in 1,090 days

EPA
Tiger Woods struggled as he played his first Masters round in 1,090 days

But he struggled to a one-over-par 73.

Spieth, 24, — the new boss of the moss at Augusta — went on to grab the first-round headlines once again.

His brilliant six-under-par 66 sent him surging to the top of the leaderboard — a position he has occupied in NINE of the 17 rounds he has played at The Masters.

Among the men breathing down Spieth’s neck is Rory McIlroy, who produced superb par saves at the 16th and 17th holes to break 70 in the opening round for only the second time in ten attempts.

 Jordan Spieth takes a look at Masters leaderboard, which he now tops

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Jordan Spieth takes a look at Masters leaderboard, which he now tops
 Jordan Spieth has occupied top spot in nine of 17 rounds he at The Masters

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Jordan Spieth has occupied top spot in nine of 17 rounds he at The Masters

His gritty three-under 69 falls short of the 65 he opened with in 2011.

But after declaring in the build-up that a fast start was essential to his chances of completing a career Grand Slam, he was delighted with this effort.

McIlroy came out breathing fire and birdied the first hole for the first time in 35 rounds at Augusta.

That completes the set for McIlroy — he has now birdied every hole here.

Jordan Spieth in ominous form for Masters as he skips the ball across the pond at Augusta’s hole 16

 Four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods still draws a crowd at Augusta

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Four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods still draws a crowd at Augusta

After his only bogey at the tricky seventh, the Northern Irishman picked up shots at three of the par fives — the eighth, 13th and 15th.

But holing long par putts after he was in trouble on 16 and 17 was just as important, especially with Spieth on the charge thanks to five birdies in a row from the 13th.

The 2015 Masters champion finished day one two shots clear of Matt Kuchar — the man he beat to win The Open  last July — and Tony Finau.

Given his love for this place — he was twice runner-up and a winner between 2014 and 2016 — Spieth will be a hard man to knock off the top.

 Tiger Woods was pleased with his scrambling on a day when he sprayed his ball into the spectators

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Tiger Woods was pleased with his scrambling on a day when he sprayed his ball into the spectators

His effort overshadowed Woods’ eagerly-awaited return to the Augusta fairways — not that the 14-time Major champ saw much of them.

Woods was pleased with his scrambling on a day when he sprayed his ball into the spectators, the trees, the pine-straw and every other no-go area on the course.

At times, it seemed as if everyone on the course felt as deflated as him.

Tigermania has reached new levels during the Masters build-up  and yesterday’s round was a demoralising comedown after Woods raised hopes that he could challenge for a fifth Green Jacket.

Woods, 42, posted top-five finishes in his last two events to prove his fourth back operation had been a success.

 Rory McIlroy produced superb par saves at the 16th and 17th holes

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Rory McIlroy produced superb par saves at the 16th and 17th holes

But even with his driver repeatedly leaking right, a horrible shank on the 11th and a ball in the water at the short 12th, there were still positives for Woods to take.

Woods birdied the 14th and 16th to claw his way back on a day when most of the field found scoring tough.

Woods, after teeing it up at The Masters for the first time since 2015, said: “I played well. I made a few mistakes, I didn’t take care of the par-fives — not very good.

“It feels great to be back, it’s been a while. Oh my God, it was incredible. The people were into it, even on the range where I got a couple of standing ovations.

“The way everyone has been so warm over my fight to come back, I’m at a loss for words most of the time.

“I was looking forward to grinding it out and I made a little comeback on the back nine to get myself back into this tournament.”

Golfer Tony Finau hits a hole in one and then dislocates his ankle in the celebration during Masters warm-up week

JORDAN SPIETH gave Tiger Woods a harsh reminder that time has not stood still after the four-time champion struggled on his return to Augusta.