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Young guns off target at Masters

GOLF'S young guns fired blanks in their US Masters debut on Thursday as teenagers Rory McIlroy, Danny Lee and Ryo Ishikawa all failed to break par.

On a sunny, calm day when Augusta National Golf Club dropped its defences to allow Americans Chad Campbell and Hunter Mahan to threaten the course record, the youthful trio was unable to take advantage.

US amateur champion Lee, who became the youngest winner on the European Tour with a victory at the Johnnie Walker in February, received the rudest welcome.

The 18-year-old New Zealander carded a two-over 74 while Japanese 17-year-old Ishikawa, twice a winner on the Japan Tour, had a 73 and 19-year-old McIlroy scrapped his way to a level par 72 to sit seven back of first round leader Campbell.

"I just played myself into the round," said Northern Irishman McIlroy, who mixed two birdies with a pair of bogeys. "Par golf in a major championships is usually pretty good.

"I hit a lot of good shots which just missed greens and I was grinding to make pars."

Ranked 17th in the world with a win at the Dubai Desert Classic along with three other top-five finishes, McIlroy was the only one of the three teenagers not to admit to a case of the jitters.

"Padraig (Harrington) said, it is almost easier to win a major than a normal tournament as you don't have to play that well but just have to stay patient. Keep grinding out pars," he said.

The Irish sensation has also flashed his form on the PGA Tour with top 20 finishes in each of his three starts, leading some to tip him to become the first debutant to win at Augusta since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.


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