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British Masters 2016: Thursday Leaderboard Scores and Highlights

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2016

WATFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13:  Luke Donald of England, Andy Sullivan of England and Chris Wood of England walk off the tenth tee during the first round of the British Masters at The Grove on October 13, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Four men share the lead after the first day of the 2016 British Masters, with Mikko Ilonen, Marc Warren, Tommy Fleetwood and Richard Sterne all playing rounds of five-under 66 on Thursday.

The course at Chandlers' Cross, Hertfordshire, England, played fairly quickly and gave plenty of the top stars on the European Tour problems, and the top 10 is filled with Englishmen who know the course well and used their local knowledge.

Several top players, including Danny Willett, have already dropped out of the tournament, so fans could be in for a shock winner after four days of action.

Here's a look at the leaderboard:

British Masters Leaderboard
PosPlayerTo ParThursday Score
T1Mikko Ilonen-566
T1Marc Warren-566
T1Tommy Fleetwood-566
T1Richard Sterne-566
T5David Horsey-467
T5Lee Westwoord-467
T5Richard Bland-467
T5James Morrison-467
T9Andrew Johnston-467
T9Alex Noren-467
Europeantour.com

   

Recap

The opening round of the 2016 British Masters started with some bad news, as both Willett and Seve Benson retired with back problems.

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That didn't stop those playing from putting on quite the show. Ilonen and Warren split the early lead, both dropping just a single shot on their way to a score of five-under.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13:  Johan Edfors of Sweden chips onto the 18th green during the first round of the British Masters at The Grove on October 13, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The former recorded an eagle on the second hole and grabbed four more birdies while dropping the 11th, and the latter matched his effort on the second, dropping the ninth.  

Behind those two, an all-British group impressed from the tee. As shared by the European Tour's official Twitter account, Lee Westwood didn't miss the fairway once on his way to a score of four-under:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

Lee Westwood hit all 14 fairways today 💯 #BritishMasters https://t.co/cfEIhnBMKv

The 43-year-old would drop two shots, as his putter gave him some issues, but his final score still puts him in contention for yet another European Tour win―which would be his first since 2014.

David Horsey, Richard Bland and James Morrison also signed off with scores of four-under, a solid start for some of the local favourites.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13:  Robert Rock of England hits his tee shot on the fifth tee during the first round of the British Masters at The Grove on October 13, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Tyrrell Hatton impressed with his putter on his way to a score of three-under, and he likely would have grabbed a share of the early lead if not for a double bogey on the fourth. The 24-year-old, who took his maiden European Tour win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship earlier this year, loved how the greens played:

Tyrrell Hatton @TyrrellHatton

Decent start to the tournament, greens are rolling pure!! crowds were awesome today 💪🏻looking forward to tomorrow #britishmasters

Among the late starters, Fleetwood was one of the standouts, playing a flawless round of five-under to grab a share of the lead. The 25-year-old's approach game was perfect, and his putter didn't let him down all day.

Alex Noren carded a round of four-under and made a number of spectacular shots, including this beautiful sequence:

The European Tour @EuropeanTour

Down in two from 290 yards for a 67. Tip your cap @Alex_Noren! https://t.co/5fots29GFP

Sterne joined the three leaders late in the day, also signing off with a score of five-under. The South African could have taken the outright lead had his putter held up a little better, but he has to feel good about his work from the tee and approach game.  

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