The world’s top golfing stars have teed off in the first major tournament of the year – the US Masters at Augusta, Georgia.
Despite almost 100 players out to take home the coveted green jacket awarded to the winner, the bookies are not looking beyond the top trio to be crowned champion.
Three great players are out to grab the title and all are playing at the top of their game.
Aussie Jason Day is the favourite. Already world number one and having won six out of his last 13 tournaments, Day has broken into golf’s elite with a game of consistency, passion and power.
Jordan Spieth, last year’s winner and world number two is bidding to become the next golfer after Tiger Woods in 2002 to hold on to the title and is driving and putting well enough to attain his dream.
World number three Rory McIlroy, who already has four other major titles under his belt, would like to sink the winning putt after four days of golf. Another player who cannot be ignored by the opposition.
If McIlroy wins the tournament, he becomes one of a celebrated few who have completed a grand slam of the world’s major golf tournaments.
He would stand aside the greats of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player and Ben Hogan should he accomplish the feat.
A deciding factor could be competitive rustiness after returning from a three-month competition break for all the players.
Against McIlroy is the fact that a British player has not won the title since Nick Faldo in 1996.
Two shot lead
But fallow periods and records and made to be broken and McIlroy certainly won’t be worrying about the record books as he concentrates on his game.
Spieth held a two shot lead after the first round on a six under par 66, McIlroy was two under on 70 and Day level.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry was four under, while England’s Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose were three under.
Spieth would be the fourth player to retain the title after Nicklaus, Faldo and Woods and looks difficult to bet against after sinking a 15-foot putt on one green and demonstrating he is still on top form.