GOLF BETTING: A great first day for Tiger Woods at Augusta saw him hit a 4 under round of 68, including two eagles, which has seen Ladbrokes slash his odds from 6/1 to 5/2.
Tiger was generally well received by the crowd, aside from a few boos, and he went on to hit his best ever opening round at Augusta.
It was Fred Couples and Tom Watson winding back the clock though. Couples was overnight clubhouse leader at 6 under, a mere one shot ahead of Watson. Bookies are still cautious about the pair, Betfred places 66/1 on Watson and Paddy Power 16/1 on Couples but their opening efforts are to be admired.
Of the English challenge, Lee Westwood made a great start, just one shot off the pacemaker Couples. Stan James has Westwood at 8/1 and confidence is high in British bookies that he can bring the trophy back to England after 14 years. Flamboyant Ian Poulter, who played in a dazzling pair of tartan trousers, is 14/1 (888sport) after a confident opening round of 4 under but Donald, Casey and Dyson all found the going tough and all three will need strong second rounds to stand any chance.
Unfortunately Wood, Fisher, Woosnam and Wilson all struggled and look unlikely to make the cut.
Elsewhere, the promising debutant Charl Schwartzel is 28/1 with Bet365 after shooting a 3 under 69. An each-way finish for the young South African would enhance his reputation as one of the most promising golfers on the circuits.
Phil Mickelson showed some of his exceptional talent and sat in joint second overnight, which prompted Stan James to rightly nominate him 6/1 second fav. If he maintains the standard of the first round, he can be a contender this year.
Ernie Els will look to step up a gear in the second round to improve on his 1 under first round score, which, if he can, will see his 25/1 status quickly diminish (Blue Sq).