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Bubba Watson begins defense of Masters title

Bubba Watson begins defense of Masters title
Bubba Watson walks off the fourth tee during the first round of the Masters on Thursday at Augusta National. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Bubba Watson, the defending champion of the Masters, got off to a good start in Thursday's first round play at Augusta National.

Two early birdies -- followed by a bogey on No. 6 -- put Watson at 1-under and tied for fifth place. Earlier in the week, he talked about the difficulty of trying to capture back-to-back titles.

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"Even a year later, you're excited about your win," he said. "Sometimes you get away from your routine or you just use your energy in a different way."

Justin Rose led a trio of early leaders at 3-under. Webb Simpson and Paul Casey were at 2-under.

On a day when former champions Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player served as honorary starters, veteran Tom Watson turned back the clock with a score of 1-under through 12 holes.

Follow David Wharton on Twitter @LATimesWharton

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