Sandy Lyle had mixed feelings as he started the 30th anniversary of him becoming the first British player to win the Masters with a two-over-par 74.
The 60-year-old thrilled the crowd at the 15th by rolling in a 40-foot eagle putt after earlier making birdies at the second and third holes.
But he was “frustrated” after finishing bogey-bogey when he was on course to end the opening day in the top 20.
“I’m happy and I’m not happy,” said Lyle afterwards. “I kind of held it together and then it slipped away a little bit.
“I then made a nice little eagle at the 15th, where I was on the limit for me with a rescue club but got it within 40 feet of the hole and made the putt, so that was nice.
“I had a little chance at 16 from about eight feet from behind the hole, but it was a very fast putt and it just missed. Then I finished bogey-bogey, which is a bit disappointing.”
Lyle, who is making his 37th appearance in the event, received a warm welcome on the first tee in the company of Players’ champion Si Woo Kim from Korea and American amateur Doug Ghim.
The Scot split the fairway with a great drive that was by no means short only to then watch his two younger playing partners knock it past him.
“I don’t get sucked into driving competitions, but I was level with them an odd time here and there,” he reported afterwards.
After pushing his approach at the first, Lyle stamped the ground in frustration as he knew he’d short-sided himself and duly started with a bogey.
He was soon smiling, though, as back-to-back birdies followed at the second and third before illuminating his card with that eagle on the back nine.
“I felt like I’ve been hitting the ball not bad, but I made bogeys today with mid-irons in hand which was annoying,” he admitted. “At seven, I had a 7-iron and said ‘anywhere but the bunker’ and, of course, where does it go? Left bunker.
“The putting is pretty sharp and around the greens it’s pretty sharp, which you have to be around here, because you’ll always have those little fringe shots to play around here.”
The eagle at the 15th made amends for an adventurous bogey-6 two holes earlier for the two-time major winner and sole Scot in this week’s field.
“I hit the wall of the water hazard and it shot the ball backwards into the azaleas and I just about had a shot to get it out,” he said.
“I gave it a fair old swipe and hit the wall again and it came right back about five feet from where I started. I was in a bit of trouble, so it ended up being a good six in the end.”
Wearing a Saltire-blue top under a sleveless jacket, Lyle lapped up the applause as he headed down the first fairway and said he’d enjoyed great support throughout the round.
“The crowds have been excellent all the way around and I had my own support group with me, I’ve enjoyed it,” he said, smiling.
“I really started to enjoy it when I got through 15, I thought here we go. We’ve got a good chance at 16 where the pin is today.
“My shot there looked like it was going to come into the hole at one point so I didn’t realise it was past the pin.
“It’s frustrating to finish bogey-bogey, but that’s it.”