Editor’s note: Fred Couples birdied No. 17 to get to 6 under and take a 1-shot lead. Tiger Woods made bogey at 14 and is currently at 2 under.
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – After his ceremonial tee shot this morning, Jack Nicklaus was asked if he is surprised that no one has broken his record as the oldest Masters champion. Nicklaus said he had not thought much about the record, then added this:
“(Tom) Watson would be capable. I don’t know whether Tom himself would say that. He said at the (Champions) Dinner the other night, ‘It’s just too long for me to compete here.’ But I would never put it by him.”
Watson shot 65 to open last year’s British Open at Turnberry, where he eventually lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink.
“You never know what Watson could do,” Nicklaus said. “He is still a very, very good player.”
Five hours later, Watson, winner of two green jackets, and at age 60 playing in his 37th Masters, made a 6-footer for birdie on No. 18 for an opening 5-under 67 and at the time the clubhouse lead at the Masters.
Since then, three big names have joined Watson at the top of the leaderboard with 65s:
• Two-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson missed a 7-footer for birdie on 18 that would have given him the outright lead. He played holes 13-15 in 4 under, making an eagle on 13.
• After a couple early bogeys, Lee Westwood played his final 13 holes in 5 under.
• Y.E. Yang, winner of golf’s last major at the PGA Championship, played steady alongside Mickelson, making his only bogey on the tricky par-4 seventh.
– More to come