LEE Westwood aimed to make his actions speak louder than his words again as he took a one-stroke lead into the second round in Augusta.
A five-under-par opening 67 matched Westwood's best-ever score at the Masters, and it came just two days after he advised people not to think that the week was all about Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
“I was trying to be a voice of common sense,” said the world number three, runner-up to Phil Mickelson two years ago and five times in the top three in his last nine majors.
The 38-year-old is making his 56th attempt to win one, however, and the pressure is bound to increase as the tournament progresses.
The size of the task is easily measured. Since 1984, Trevor Immelman is the only first-round leader to go on to victory three days later.
Westwood's start left him one in front of Peter Hanson and South African Louis Oosthuizen.
McIlroy birdied the last two holes for a 71 and was delighted with that after kicking off with a double bogey, but Woods finished with back-to-back bogeys for a 72 and said of his driving: “I hit some of the worst golf swings I've ever hit.”
He took penalty drops in the trees at the second and 18th, but did at least avoid a big number – unlike Mickelson, whose lost ball on the 10th led to a triple bogey seven, the same score McIlroy had on the hole in his final-round 80 last year.
The three-time winner's 74 was still one better than Luke Donald, but at least the world number one is still alive in the event.
It was thought for a while that he might have signed for the wrong score – his bogey five on the fifth was changed on the system to a birdie three after he finished – but it turned out to be “an administrative error”.
Westwood said: “I was just trying to cruise my way into the tournament. It's nice to get off to a good start and have a platform to build from.”
He had four successive birdies from the fifth and took over at the top after Henrik Stenson crashed from six under to one under by three-putting the short 16th and having a quadruple bogey eight on the last.
McIlroy said: “I need to drive the ball in the fairway a little bit more. That will be the key for me the next three days. I stayed very patient and didn't try and force things. That paid off with two birdies at the end.”