LEE Westwood tossed away the Masters lead with a closing double bogey at Augusta - and Rory McIlroy was among those who found themselves at the top because of it.
England’s world number three, ahead by one after an opening 67, still held that advantage until he missed the 18th green, chipped 10 feet past and ran up a six. A one over par 73 dropped him to four under for the opening major of the season and out in front on five under instead were McIlroy, who still had two to play, Spanish star Sergio Garcia and Americans Jason Dufner and Fred Couples - champion 20 years ago and now 52.
McIlroy, of course, was back in the position he held with nine to play a year ago, prior to the collapse which forced him to sign for an 80 and finish 10 behind Charl Schwartzel.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, was only three behind after birdies at the first and third, but followed them with a bogey on the short fourth. Worksop’s Westwood reeled off 10 pars in a row, then responded well to dropping his first stroke on the 11th. He holed from eight feet at the 155-yard next, then escaped with a par on the long 13th after his second shot headed towards Rae’s Creek, but did not go into the water.
The 38-year-old was on the back of the green in two on the 530-yard 15th and two-putted before being left to rue his bitterly disappointing finish.
McIlroy, whose return to the course where he shot a closing 80 last April began with a double bogey, birdied the third, fourth and seventh.
He three-putted the 10th but was on in two at the 13th and after two-putting for birdie there added another on the 15th. He missed the green to the right there, but chipped over the bunker to nine feet and made it.