Donald penalized by Masters officials

Julian Linden

By Julian Linden

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Luke Donald incurred the wrath of Masters officials when he was penalized two shots for an infringement during his opening round at Augusta National on Thursday.

The Englishman took six shots on the par-four ninth hole but was later handed a two-stroke penalty for touching the sand with his wedge before playing a bunker shot.

His score for the hole was changed to a quadruple-bogey eight - his worst score on a single hole in 10 visits to the Masters - for a first round of seven-over-par 79.

Donald's woes capped a miserable day for the English contingent with none of the country's seven entrants breaking par, although the two amateurs showed some encouraging signs of the future.

Former world number one Lee Westwood came closest to breaking par but bogeyed the last to finish with a one-over 73 after being drawn in the latest group and playing when conditions were at their toughest.

"It's going to play as hard all day, being last out and you're going to get the worst of the greens and probably the wind is going to pick up," he said.

"I played nicely, just didn't make enough of the par-fives, even par is not good enough on the par-fives."

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose shot a 76, as did Ian Poulter and the two amateurs, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Garrick Porteous, while David Lynn signed for a 78.

"I think that the course was receptive, I got to be honest," Poulter said. "It was fairly soft, but obviously the greens run very, very fast on this golf course.

"Some of the pin locations today were very hard to keep it under the hole, so you find yourself on key holes around this golf course where you're putting downhill."

Fitzpatrick and Porteous finished tied with Australia's Oliver Goss as the leading amateurs after overcoming nervous starts to shoot four-over.

Fitzpatrick, playing in the same group as the defending champion Adam Scott, double-bogeyed his opening hole while Porteous bogeyed his first three.

Scott said he was impressed by the 19-year-old Fitzpatrick, who finished as the low amateur at last year's British Open.

"I think he played really well. Obviously it was a nervous start, and I stood there and watched and thought, that's what I looked like many times playing the first hole at the Masters," Scott said.

"But he did hole a great putt for double-bogey and that's exactly what I said to him. I said, "Great putt, get going now.'

And he calmed down and he birdied the next and he played fine.

"It was really great to watch him play. He swings so freely, it's nice. He's going to develop into a really good player, I think. He's got the credentials."

(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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