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MASTERS NOTES: Waiting Leishman lost in late charge

Mark Leishman of Australia (L) pulls his driver out of his bag next to caddie Matthew Kelly (R) on the 18th tee during first round play in the 2013 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 11, 2013.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES  - Tags: SPORT GOLF)

Mark Leishman of Australia (L) pulls his driver out of his bag next to caddie Matthew Kelly (R) on the 18th tee during first round play in the 2013 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT GOLF)

AUGUSTA -- Marc Leishman had about three hours to enjoy leading the Masters.

When the Australia native finished his round with a 6-under 66, he held a two-stroke lead and walked off the 18th green with a big smile.

"Obviously, I was happy," said Leishman, playing in his second Masters and first since 2010. "I wanted to go out there and play well, and I did. I think smiling, being happy, is a good thing."

But while he finished his post-tournament interviews and made his way to his rented home for the week, Sergio Garcia kept making birdies and Dustin Johnson notched the 2013 Masters' first eagle. Garcia, the once future star, made the turn at 4-under and birdied the the par 5 16th to finish tied with Leishman. Johnson also reached 6-under, but bogeyed 17 to end the day one shot back.

And all Leishman could do was watch -- or not watch -- and wait as Garcia stole the story of the first-round of the Masters.

"I'll just go home, back to the house we've rented, just be good to see Harvey, he's my 15-month-old son," he said. "Probably play around with him in the back and he'll be throwing balls at me and I'll be chasing him. That will keep me amused for sure."

And the wait continues for Leishman who doesn't tee off today until 12:35 p.m. Leishman, however, knows how to wait.

It took the 29-year-old seven years as a professional until he won his first tournament, the Travelers Championship last year. He came from six shots back on Sunday to shock the field. But beginning so far back of the leaders meant one thing: Waiting.

"It was nerve-wracking," Leishman said of the two hours he spent watching golf and hoping to hoist a trophy. "I was pretty relaxed about it to be honest. I thought it was just, I'd finish second or third and got go home."

When the wait ends this afternoon, Leishman will tee off as a leader of a major golf tournament and a tournament he failed to make the cut in the first time.

"The first time I was here a few years ago, I was like a bit of a deer in headlights, I guess," he said. "Found myself looking around a little too much and not concentrating on getting the ball in the hole, which is what you need to do.

"To be here is awesome and sitting here is pretty cool. But, you know, it's only Thursday afternoon, so a lot of golf left to play. But, I feel good about my game."

Greens confound Woods, Watson

Bubba Watson kept trying to steer the conversation. He didn't want to talk about returning as Masters champion. He didn't want to talk about bigger galleries. He didn't want to talk about his position at 3-over par.

He wanted to talk about putting.

"I had four three-putts," Watson said, admitting one was a putt from the fringe but close enough for him to count it. "I never got the speed right, never got the ball to the hole. They were slower than what I was expecting ... I just left a lot of putts short."

And he wasn't the only owner of a green jacket struggle.

Four-time champion Tiger Woods, who finished 2-under par, also noted struggles reading the speed of the greens.

"We were (all leaving putts short)," Tiger said of him and playing partners Luke Donald and Scott Piercy. "The biggest challenge today was just the speed of the green. They just weren't quite there. They looked it, but just weren't quite putting it."

Mize scrapping and clawing

It's been since 2009 that Larry Mize made the cut at Augusta, but the 1987 Masters winner put himself in a good position Thursday.

The 54-year-old Georgia native shot a 1-over 73, putting him five back of the leaders Garcia and Leishman.

"(I) just scrapped and clawed for everything I could," Mize said. "You know, need to hit it a little better, but I really scored well today. My short game saved me, so I got through OK."

Mize only hit eight greens, but the Georgia Tech graduate averaged less than two putts a hole and it was an eight iron that he knocked close on No. 12 to set up one of his two birdies.

It's Mize's 30th Masters and he hasn't finished in the top 20 since 2000, but he doesn't show up to Augusta just for fun.

"The excitement is always here," he said. "I'm nervous out there playing. The competitor in you wants to play well.

"I've got to hit it better tomorrow."

14-year-old not shrinking in Masters' light

Whether he was running in a birdie putt on No. 18 or drawing applause from two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw or sitting at a podium and answering questions in both English and Chinese, Tianlang Guan never looked like a 14-year-old.

Rather, he looked like a golfer.

The amateur invite playing in his first Masters shot a 1-over 73 in his first round at Augusta National. His parents said he didn't act nervous during breakfast, but he conceded to a few jitters.

"Just a little bit nervous on the first tee," Guan said, "but I hit a great tee shot on it and after that I've felt comfortable."

On more than one occasion, Crenshaw applauded shots by Guan and the two played a practice round together earlier in the week.

"He played more like a veteran," Crenshaw said. "That's what really impresses me."

Seven shots off the lead Guan, technically, is in a good position in the tournament, but he kept steering his answers back to today's round.

"I just want to play some good golf tomorrow and just enjoy it," he said. "I want to win a major and hopefully I can win four majors in one year.

"Probably not this year."

Tough start for Cink

With a birdie on No. 9 to bring him back to even par, Stewart Cink put himself in a good position at the turn Thursday.

When he finished, that position was much worse.

The Duluth resident, who last year just made the cut before a disastrous 81 on Saturday, double-bogeyed the par 3 12th and then bogeyed No. 14, finishing nine back with a 3-over 75.