AUGUSTA, Ga. —
Plenty of players took advantage of the gentle conditions Thursday.
Even an eighth-grader.
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old from China and youngest to compete in a major in 148 years, played well beyond his age. He holed a 15-foot putt from just off the 18th green for a respectable round of 73 and a reasonable chance of making the cut.
Guan dropped a shot early in the second round with a bogey at the par-3 fourth.
Tiger Woods wasn't far off as he began his quest for a fifth green jacket. Wild at the start of the opening round, including a tee shot that knocked a cup of beer out of a spectator's hand, Woods settled into a groove and opened with a 70 as his girlfriend, Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn, watched on a few holes.
In his four Masters wins, Woods has never opened with a score lower than 70. His key is not to shoot himself out of the tournament before the weekend. He had an afternoon tee time Friday.
Johnson has a game that fits perfectly for Augusta and he finally brought it. Johnson hit a 9-iron for his second shot on the par-5 13th and made a 15-foot eagle putt, and he smashed his drive on the par-5 15th and hit pitching wedge just through the green for an easy birdie.
Fred Couples, the 53-year-old wonder at his favorite major, made bogey on the 18th and still was in the large group at 68. There were a dozen rounds in the 60s on Thursday, and nearly half the field shot par or better. Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson recovered from a rough start by running off four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to salvage a 71, while Rory McIlroy had a 72.