Westwood takes early lead at Augusta

Updated: April 6, 2012

Lee Westwood took a significant step towards his first ever major victory at the Masters on Thursday.

The Englishman shot a five-under-par 67 to take a one-shot lead over South African Louis Oosthuizen and Swede Peter Hanson on a day when many big names struggled.

A large group of players lie on three under, tied for fourth and two shots off the pace – Americans Ben Crane, Jason Dufner and Bubba Watson, Scot Paul Lawrie, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and Italian Francesco Molinari.

Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Scott Stallings and Vijay Singh all posted two-under 70s to lie three shots back.

Rory McIlroy fared best of the rest, though he got off to the worst possible start with a double bogey at the first hole. Three more birdies on the front nine steadied the ship before bogeys at the 11th and 13th saw him fall back over par. Closing birdies at the 17th and 18th helped him to a one-under 71.

Tiger Woods was two under for his round for much of the day, but consecutive bogeys at the 17th and 18th saw him fall back to post a level-par 72, tied with the likes of defending champion Charl Schwartzel, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose. Five shots back, they’re far from out of the running.