Masters: Sandy Lyle to hit opening shot

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TWENTY-FIVE years after becoming the first British player to be Masters champion, Sandy Lyle will have the honour of getting the event’s 77th staging underway.

In a fitting tribute to his historic success in 1988, the Scot will hit the opening shot at 8am tomorrow after the ceremonial opening drives are struck by honorary starters Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Partnering Lyle in the first group out will be Nathan Smith, the US Mid-Amateur champion, and American debutant John Peterson.

Martin Laird and Paul Lawrie, the two other Scots in the 93-strong field, are out in back-to-back groups just before lunchtime. Laird, who booked his spot by winning the Texas Open, has 1998 champion Mark O’Meara and Welshman Jamie Donaldson for company, while Lawrie is out with Thomas Bjorn and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.