Augusta, April 7:

Vijay Singh was at the top of the Masters leaderboard. No surprise there.

Phil Mickelson was right in the mix. That’s to be expected. Tiger Woods got off to a sluggish start at Augusta National. Sounds about right. Still, there were plenty of surprises on Day 1: Rocco Mediate and Arron Oberholser were Singh’s closest challengers, and Ben Crenshaw put himself in contention with a stunning round.

Showing no regard for the longer, tougher course, Singh put up a bogey-free, 5-under 67 that gave him a one-shot lead over Mediate on Thursday. Oberholser, a Masters rookie, was another shot back.

Mickelson shot 70, part of a group three strokes off the lead that included two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen.

Oberholser didn’t have high expectations coming into his first Masters, and his attitude remained the same after he shot 69.

Defending champion Woods came as a favourite to win his fifth green jacket — only Jack Nicklaus has more — and felt good about his opening 72. Woods finished strong with a birdie at No 18, leaving him solidly in contention. Remember: He started last year with a 74, but went on to beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff.