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April 11 2013

4:00 PM

Leishman learns from first Masters

Leishman birdied four of his last six holes Thursday to shoot 66. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When Marc Leishman played his first Masters three years ago, he found himself thinking about what he'd seen on television when he was growing up in Australia: Fred Couples' ball staying up on the back on No. 12 in 1992, someone chipping in on 11.

"I probably should have came here a few more times before the tournament so I didn't do that," he admitted. "But I didn't, and I found myself doing that during the tournament, which wasn't great."

Neither were his scores: a 72 and 79 to miss the cut. "I just hit it in a lot of bad spots and I think I learned a lot by doing that," he continued.

Thursday, he fared considerably better, shooting a 66 to take the early lead.

"You just put all your mistakes in the memory bank and try and not make them again," Leishman said.

He didn't make many in the opening round this year, making just one bogey and seven birdies, including four in a row on Nos. 13 through 16. The last of those came from across the green, or as Leishman put it, "another zip code."

But the key to his round came before he even teed it up Thursday. During his practice round on Wednesday, Leishman birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 12 and eagled the par-5 13th.

"I haven't been on a run like that ever around this golf course," said Leishman, who is well aware that an Australian has never won a Green Jacket. "It was good to know that it's possible, because it felt impossible last time I was here."

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