Read more: Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy gear up for the US Masters

Rory McIlroy was the clubhouse leader on 65 after an inspired round of golf at day one of the Masters.

He came close the course record of 8 under on the last two holes but missed two shortish putts and ended up at -- 7 .

Those two missed birdie putts were the only disappointments in a magnificent round for Northern Ireland' s McIlroy who was three shots clear of Retief Goosen when he finished his round.

The explosive start by the 21-year old was all the more surprising as he had not been in top form lately but he will now likely to lead the field into the second round with a chance at creating history as the first Irish player to win America's most prestigious tournament.

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McIlroy only turned professional in 2007 and has already made a great impression on the world of golf. He has already been compared to Tiger Woods and have one win on the European Tour and one PGA Tour win.

In 2010 he made a name for himself when he shot 63 on the opening day of the Open Championship. He finished tied third. Later in the year he missed out on having a three-way tie with Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer in the PGA Championship.

England's Ross Fisher is already in the clubhouse at -3. Brandt Snedeker is on his final hole of the day at -3. Sean O'Hair and Camillo Villegas are both in the clubhouse after impressive first round scores of -2. Japanese superstar Ryo Ishikawa sits at -2 through ten holes.

2011 Masters Leaderboard:

Pos Name Today Thru Total

1 Rory McIlroy -7 15 -7

T2 Retief Goosen -4 14 -4

T2 Charl Schwartzel -4 9 -4

T4 Ross Fisher -3 F -3

T4 Brandt Snedeker -3 F -3

T4 Hiroyuki Fujita -3 14 -3

T4 Ryo Ishikawa -3 13 -3

T4 Matt Kuchar -3 12 -3

T9 Sean O'Hair -2 F -2

T9 Camilo Villegas -2 F -2

Read more: Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy gear up for the US Masters