By Mark Lamport-Stokes
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Fatigue got the better of reigning champion Bubba Watson during a protracted opening round at the Masters on Thursday as he hit errant tee shots on the last two holes to card a one-under-par 71.
The American left-hander, who is seeking to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only players to win consecutive green jackets, did well to salvage par at the 17th where he chipped in from just off the green.
However, he bogeyed the par-four last after his second shot sailed way left, sending several fans who had been sitting close to the green scurrying out of the way.
"The last two holes you could just tell I got a little tired," Watson told reporters after finishing four strokes off the early lead. "It took five hours 15 minutes to play golf.
"Both my tee shots were way to the left, I just shoved them. I was not committed, not focused. Other than that, it was a good day. It's a major championship. I missed a few putts here and there, three-putted twice."
Watson, who is also bidding to join the likes of Sam Snead, Gary Player and Phil Mickelson by becoming the sixth three-times Masters winner, said he had been "a little amped up" at the start of his round.
"Having two (green) jackets, you're pretty excited when you get here," the 36-year-old said after mixing four birdies with three bogeys on a receptive, rain-softened Augusta National layout.
"Obviously the more you play the golf course, the more you learn. And having the success, winning twice, knowing I have the ability to do it, obviously that calms you down and let's you try to play golf a little bit.
"I told my caddie after a couple holes I was a little amped up, so I just needed to calm down. So I started walking slower."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)