Spieth leads Masters by 2 after bogey-free 66


After the opening round of the 2016 Masters, the leaderboard looks an awful lot like the one from the end of the 2015 Masters. Here's how things look after the opening round at Augusta National, where Jordan Spieth leads by two shots:

Leaderboard: Jordan Spieth (-6), Danny Lee (-4), Shane Lowry (-4), Justin Rose (-3), Sergio Garcia (-3), Ian Poulter (-3), Paul Casey (-3), Soren Kjeldsen (-3)

What it means: Spieth went out in the early wave and set the mark, cruising around Augusta National without dropping a single shot. While players like Lowry and Jason Day (72) appeared on the verge of catching Spieth, no one else was able to reach 6 under. As a result, Spieth becomes the first defending champ to hold at least a share of the opening-round lead since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1995, and the first to hold the opening-round lead outright since Jack Nicklaus in 1966.

Round of the day: Just as he did last year en route to a four-shot win, Spieth combined some strong approach shots with all-world putting. Spieth made his move up the standings with three birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 6-10, then maintained a clean card with clutch up-and-downs on Nos. 11, 12 and 16. A closing birdie gave him a 66 and tied Olazabal's 1995 effort for the lowest opener by a defending champ.

Best of the rest: Lowry earned a WGC victory last year in Akron, and he is again contending against a strong field after an opening-round 68. The Irishman got off to a hot start with four straight birdies on Nos. 2-5, then added another birdie on No. 8 to make the turn in 31. While he didn't card a birdie coming home, he still remains in prime position to contend for what would be his first major win.

Biggest disappointment: There were plenty of big names who struggled in the opening round, including Bubba Watson (75) and Adam Scott (76). But the biggest head-scratcher came from Rickie Fowler, who entered as one of the tournament favorites and promptly opened with an 80. Fowler doubled the first hole but fought back into red figures before imploding on the second nine, following a triple bogey on No. 13 with four more dropped shots over his final five holes. At 8 over, he beat only four players among the 89-man field.

Main storyline heading into Friday: All eyes remain on Spieth, who now has led after each of the last five rounds at Augusta National. He'll be out in the late wave during the second round, but appears entirely comfortable back at one of his most fertile hunting grounds. Should anyone give chase, though, it'll likely come from the powerful group at 3 under, which includes the likes of Rose, Casey and Garcia, all in search of their first Masters win.

Quote of the day: "I got a lot out of the round with what I felt was kind of average-ish ball-striking." - Spieth