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Day trails countrymen after day one at Augusta

Jason Day fought hard after a tough start on day one at the Masters (Photo: Getty Images)
Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are perfectly placed but Jason Day and Adam Scott have work to do.

That’s the state of play for the Australian contingent after an enthralling first day’s play at the 82nd Masters at Augusta National.

Leishman’s 2-under 70 has him T11 while Smith is five places further back after a 1-under 71; Jordan Spieth leads the tournament at 6-under after a brilliant 66.

Jason Day struggled to recover from a poor start on his way to a 75 while 2013 champion Adam Scott is at the same number after a rollercoaster back nine.

Sergio Garcia’s five-balls-in-the-water octuple bogey 13 at the par-5 15th was the story of the day but the same hole cost Marc Leishman the lead not long before when he made a double bogey after also finding water.

Unlike Garcia, Leishman safely cleared the fronting pond with his second but flew long of the green from where his chip bounced harder than he expected and ran past the flag into the drink.

“Just that one hole I’d like to have over again,” he told FOX Sports’ Paul Gow after the round.

“I hit a good third shot and it just bounced harder than I wanted. I’d like to have that shot again although probably if I had the shot again I wouldn’t have hit a different club or different shot.

“Obviously doubles are never fun but around here they happen.”

Paired with Tiger Woods for the opening two days, Leishman said he enjoyed the energy of playing with the four-time winner.

“If I can’t handle it now, I never will,” he said when asked of the distractions that come with playing alongside the game’s most famous player.

“If you’re going to win here you have to play in front of crowds like that with energy like that, so I looked at it as a positive preparation.”

The mistake at 15 dropped Leishman from 4-under and the outright lead to 2-under, the score he ultimately signed for but not before salvaging a brilliant par from the trees left of the 18th.

While Leishman played under intense scrutiny, Cameron Smith was able to go about his work in relative peace and made the most of his game.

Two back nine birdies offset a lone bogey at the 4th in his 1-under effort, his stellar short game at the fore as he found 13 of 18 greens.

Having secured his place in the field as the leading Australian at the WGC-Match Play in Texas, Smith will be well pleased with his final score and with a similar effort tomorrow he will be well placed for the weekend.

As impressive as Leishman and Smith were on day one, it was tough going for Australia’s two highest profile players with both Day and Scott battling.

At 4-over through seven holes, Day fought hard for his 75 and said afterwards it was his iron play which hurt him.

“It was more-so my second shots into the greens which put me under a lot of pressure,” he said.

“From eight on, I hit pretty much every fairway. I actually drove the ball nicely, I just didn’t capitalise on the opportunities that I had from the fairway.”

Scott started steady with eight straight pars but a run of bogey-bogey-double from the 9th to the 11th saw him freefall down the leaderboard.

Birdies at 13 and 18 were the only highlights of his day, the gain at the final hole particularly important after the frustrations of the inward half.

JORDAN SPIETH'S 'CHICKEN WING' WORKS:

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