Lyle delighted with opening round

Sandy Lyle’s affection for The Masters and Augusta National continued on Thursday with his best round in 18 years.

Sandy Lyle’s great affection for The Masters and Augusta National continued on Thursday with a three-under par first round of 69 – his first sub-70 in the event for 18 years.
It left the 52-year-old 1988 champion, who has made the halfway cut the last three years, only two behind pacesetters Tom Watson – now 60 – Lee Westwood, YE Yang and Phil Mickelson.
“I’m very chuffed with that,” said Lyle. “A birdie-birdie finish will always put a smile on your face around here, especially in these conditions because it was very blustery out there at times.
“I just started to hole a couple of putts as I was coming down the stretch, which was good because I hadn’t really holed anything all day.
“You look at that leaderboard and you just see the quality of the guys that compete on the Senior Tour every week, be it Couples, Watson, Langer.
“We can all still play and the standards are very high.
“I would snapped a hand off for a 69 when I was standing on that first tee. And I had a lot of chances to take it lower as well – I had an eagle chance on number two from eight feet that I left hanging over the hole. I had another eight-footer on 15 for eagle that stayed up.
“I hit a seven-iron into the 17th to 20 feet and then a nine-iron into the last to 10 feet. I was almost in my favourite bunker again at the last, but I ended up on the grass between the two bunkers.”
For his victory 22 years ago Lyle hit a seven-iron from the sand and birdied to beat Mark Calcavecchia.