Patient Westwood thrilled with Masters recovery

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A delighted Lee Westwood believes his patience was key to salvaging a two-under 70 in the opening round of the Masters.

The Englishman, twice a runner-up at Augusta, was three over through 12 holes before five consecutive birdies helped him into outright third on Thursday.

Westwood said the run of birdies was perhaps his best stretch ever at the Masters, but pointed to pars from 10-12 as vital as his tournament threatened to slip away.

"It was nice to make five birdies in a row. Really got some momentum going. Got me back in the tournament," he said, sitting five shots behind surprise leader Charley Hoffman.

"So, three-over-par, I wasn't really too excited or anything like that, I wasn't too disappointed.

"I was just trying to not make any silly mistakes on 10, 11, 12 and play my way out of the tournament."

Asked what turned it around for him, Westwood said: "I've just been patient. I rolled a nice one down the green at 13. Didn't make any mental errors. So, just kept plodding away."

Playing with Westwood and also making a decent start was Sergio Garcia, who carded a one-under 71.

The Spaniard made 17 pars in windy conditions, with his solitary birdie coming at the eighth.

"I'm happy with it. Obviously, under the conditions we played on and to be able to go bogey-free, I don't know if it's probably my first bogey-free round here at Augusta. So it was good to do that," Garcia said.

"I would have loved to have made a couple of those birdie putts that I had, but I hit some good putts.

"And it's very difficult when it's this gusty, too. It's hard to figure out the right clubs and you need to get a few breaks and stuff like that."