Fowler comfortable as winds make life tough at Augusta

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A double-bogey at the last prevented Rickie Fowler from breaking par on day one of the Masters, but the American relished the challenge presented by a windy Augusta.

In the absence of injured world number one Dustin Johnson, who withdrew just before he was due to tee off, those competing in the year's first major faced a severe test on Thursday amid swirling gusts.

Fowler appeared set to defy the tricky conditions and break par, but had to settle for a one-over 73 following his poor finish, which left him four adrift of clubhouse leader William McGirt.

"I could have accepted five at the last, but a little ticked off about making six. Other than that, it's a decent day," said Fowler, the world number eight.

"[I] got off to a solid start. It wasn't playing easy. You're not going to try to squeeze much out of the round today. Anything under par was good, even par is still a good score and one over's not terrible."

Discussing his fondness for windy conditions, the 28-year-old added: "I love playing in the wind, this golf course is fun to play, you've got to hit quality golf shots, especially in the wind, so the tournament's far from over.

"I feel like if I play well and manage my game well, that I'll be in a really good position for the weekend. But still it's not easy, if I'm just a little bit off."

Asked about certain players simply not being able to embrace the conditions, Fowler replied: "Yes, I think Jack [Nicklaus, the 18-time major champion] used to talk about that with majors, where a lot of guys, a lot of guys would be taking themselves out of the tournament.

"Whether it was mindset or just maybe the thinking differently or the fear of being in a major ... and then obviously these are some different conditions than we're used to seeing at Augusta.

"So, I love playing in the wind, but like I said, I still have to go out and execute and hit the shots that I want to, to play the way I want to do it."