Augusta, GA – David Lynn is a 39-year-old English journeyman. He is also near the top of the leaderboard at Augusta National.
The Masters rookie kicked off the 77th edition with a 4-under 68 to grab the early clubhouse lead before Aussie Marc Leishman surged in front with a 66.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods is lurking at 3-under, while three-time champion Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are just underway. But it was the unknown Lynn, who made the early impression on golf's biggest stage.
"It's taken me a golfing lifetime to get here," said the one-time European Tour winner. "I've been a pro for 15, 16 years."
Lynn may not be a household name, but that doesn't mean he's devoid of major experience. In fact, he qualified for this event with a runner-up finish at last year's PGA Championship, which McIlroy won by eight decisive strokes.
"When I know I'm on my game, I know I can compete at that sort of level and what happened at (the PGA Championship) was basically confirming it to myself," continued Lynn. "It gives you a little bit of extra belief."
In his first full season on the PGA Tour, Lynn has shown he can compete, posting a tie for fourth at the Honda Classic and a 14th-place finish at last week's Texas Open.
Still, the odd's are against the underdog as the tourney unfolds.
The last player to win in his Masters debut was Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Before Fuzzy, it was Gene Sarazen in 1935 (in the second year of the event). In the last 30 years, the only first-year player to notch a runner-up finish was Jason Day in 2011.
If Lynn manages to buck the trend, he will also end the long-running European drought.
The last European to don the green jacket was Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999. Since the Spaniard's victory, the best finish by a European was Lee Westwood's runner-up to Mickelson in 2010.
Larry Mize, the 1987 champion, recorded the first birdie of the 77th Masters. Playing in the second group, the Augusta native picked up a shot on the par-4 opening hole to initiate a morning of low scores across the board.