Patience the key for Masters rookie Pieters

This is the first Masters Tournament for Thomas Pieters, but the 25-year-old from Belgium wasn't intimidated Thursday in his first competitive round on golf's grandest stage. He was 4-1 as a member of the European Ryder Cup team that lost to the 2016.

Blustery conditions in Georgia made life hard for those teeing off early, but Belgian Pieters made light of the high winds to move to five under par through 10 holes.

"As at any tournament, I just like to get within three shots on a Sunday afternoon", he said.

"If you catch the wrong gust at the wrong time, then you look stupid like I did on 12".

As a first-timer playing the Masters, Pieters isn't supposed to win, not this Sunday, not this year. "Then you can really give yourself a chance". He drained a 13-footer on the par-3 fourth and hit his 183-yard approach on No. 5 to 5 feet to get to 3-under-par.

Another birdie followed at the 10th to leave him out in front on his own.

On Friday, Pieters fought to get it back in a round of three birdies, an eagle and a bogey.

However, he saw his early momentum derailed by back-to-back bogeys at the fifth and sixth holes and the popular American was one under through seven. "That's what all of us, when I played, had trouble doing and all the young guys". I'm very happy with the way I'm striking the ball.

Pieters has taken to the challenging layout at Augusta National like few first-timers in history.

"Other than that I did all the good things, birdied the par-fives, and hit some good shots and I'm in decent position going into the weekend", said Rose, the world number 14.

Pieters won't say he came to beat the odds stacked against him.

Pieters, a star Ryder Cup rookie for Europe past year, is trying to buck other traditions to win the Masters.

  • Julie Sanders