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Spieth takes instant command at Augusta

Spieth had a brilliant opening day. Credit: PA

Defending champion Jordan Spieth assumed his customary position on top of the leaderboard with a brilliant 66 in the 80th Masters on Thursday.

Spieth, who was second on his debut in 2014 and claimed a first green jacket with a record-breaking performance 12 months ago, carded six birdies and no bogeys despite swirling winds on the opening day at Augusta National.

The 22-year-old, who is looking to become just the fourth player after Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods to successfully defend the year's first major championship, led from start to finish after an opening 64 last year and w as quickly into his stride with birdies on the third, sixth and eighth to move into the outright lead.

Another birdie on the 10th was followed by crucial par saves from the trees on the 11th and over the green on the 12th, before the US Open champion two-putted the 13th for birdie.

Spieth, who set records for the highest number of birdies (28) and lowest 36 and 54-hole totals in Masters history last year, understandably kissed his putter in delight after ho ling from 15 feet for par on the 16th.

And the world number two then finished in style with a birdie from five feet on the last to reach 29 under par for his nine competitive rounds at the Masters. Assuming he is not overtaken, his leaderboard position after each of those rounds will read 12-3-1-2-1-1-1-1-1.