Scott in the mix after Masters first round
Australian golfer Adam Scott has credited making peace with Augusta National for his lowest opening round at the Masters in five years, placing the 2013 champion well in contention.
Not since the 2014 Masters has Scott signed for a first-round under par, but the 38-year-old turned on a vintage performance with a three-under par 69.
Scott's score was later bettered by five others including American stars Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who each fired a 66.
At six under, DeChambeau and three-time major winner Koepka lead by one shot from three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson (67), while England veteran Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson (68) are tied fourth at four under.
Scott arrived at the first major of the year buoyed by his lowest putting rank through April on the US PGA Tour in 15 years.
But it's also the comfort of playing without the anxiety of breaking through at Augusta that Scott says has him primed for another Masters charge.
"I've talked a lot about being at peace with the (Augusta) and understanding it can give you a lot," Scott said.
"It can take it away as well, but I certainly feel there's a lot of good karma if you treat it right."
Scott has not shot better than 75 on Thursday at the past three Masters, while he has not broken par on day one since 2014 - when he posted a 69.
The fast start has Scott giddy about his chances of getting in position for a run at a second green jacket.
"Generally in my career, I'm a slow starter - certainly the last 10 years," Scott said.
"I don't jump out of the gates, it seems. So I don't know if this is jumping out of the gates, but it certainly is great."
Fellow Australians Cameron Smith and Jason Day each carded a 70, which is remarkable given Day was in severe pain from an ongoing back injury.
Day aggravated his troubled back bending down to kiss his daughter on the practice putting green on Thursday morning and now his Masters campaign is in dire straits.
He needed medical treatment from his trainer beside the second hole but finished the round while wincing in pain over every shot.
Tiger Woods also carded a 70 and the four-time Masters winner lurks ominously, four shots off the pace.
Marc Leishman (72) rounded out the Australian contingent and although he three-putted the 18th hole for bogey, he remains in the mix at even par.