Day makes fast start to final round at Augusta

Australian shares lead at the Masters as Woods struggles to make up ground

Jason Day  celebrates after chipping in for an eagle on the second hole during the fourth round of the Masters

Jason Day celebrates after chipping in for an eagle on the second hole during the fourth round of the Masters


Australia's Jason Day made an explosive birdie-eagle start to the final round of the Masters, and was tied for the lead with Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera at eight under par after four holes.

Day, hoping to end an Australian jinx at the Masters by winning a first green jacket for his country, sank a slick 20-footer at the par-four first, then holed out from a greenside bunker to eagle the par-five second.

That briefly put the 25-year-old in the outright lead but he was joined at the top after Snedeker birdied the first and 's Cabrera, the 2009 champion, two-putted for birdie at the second.

As light rain began to fall at Augusta National, Adam Scott was alone at six under, after four holes, with Lee Westwood (after seven) and Marc Leishman (after four) a further two strokes back.

Four-times champion Tiger Woods, an overwhelming favourite at the start of the week in pursuit of his 15th major title, was six shots off the pace after parring the first four holes before bogeying the par-four fifth.

The opening major of the year was once again seemingly heading for a gripping finish under overcast skies at Augusta National where possible thunderstorms have been forecast for later in the day.

Several of the early starters took advantage of surprisingly calm conditions, 2011 USPGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley leading the way in the first group out as he made four birdies in the last five holes to shoot a three-under-par 69.

Ryo Ishikawa and Ryan Moore closed with 68s while Michael Thompson fired a six-birdie 67 to hold the clubhouse lead at two-over 290.

The loudest roars of the day, however, echoed around the 18th green after 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, the feel-good story of the tournament, two-putted for par to sign off with a 75.

The youngest competitor ever at the Masters, Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Guan had already clinched the silver cup awarded to the low amateur at the Masters after becoming the youngest player to make the cut at a major championship.

"The whole week was great for me," a remarkably composed and thoughtful Guan said after finishing at 12-over-par. "I really enjoy it, and I'm having fun. I learned a lot.

"It's not easy to play here, to make the cut and be low amateur. I think I did a pretty good job this week and can't believe it's over."

Low scoring was by no means a common theme among the early starters as three-times Masters champion Phil Mickelson concluded a disappointing week with a 73 to finish at nine over.

Defending champion Bubba Watson was also struggling, running up an ugly 10 at the par-three 12th after finding the water of Rae's Creek three times and he was seven over after 14 holes.