The Masters 2022: Sungjae Im claims first round lead from Cameron Smith after Tiger Woods brilliance

As Woods reminded the world of his greatness, the 2020 joint runners-up combined to sit first and second after 18 holes at Augusta National.

Deja vu, anyone?

The first round of the 2022 Masters felt very familiar in many ways.

In the first half of the day Tiger Woods wowed the galleries and the watching world with an astounding round of 1-under-par 71, reminding us yet again that the 15-time Major Champion, who spent last April in a hospital bed following a car crash and has never played since, can never, ever be discounted.

But by the end of the day there were yet more reasons to believe we were watching a repeat.

Australia's Cameron Smith, a two-time winner this year, was the first to set an imposing clubhouse target.

The 28-year-old has opened his campaign with a double bogey-6, and he ended his day in exactly the same fashion, but in-between those errors he was deadly with his approach work, setting up eight birdies to carded a 4-under-par 68.

That total was surpassed late in the day by Sungjae Im, who shared second with Smith at the 2020 Masters.

The Korean swapped five birdies and an eagle-3 at the 13th with back-to-back bogeys at 10 and 11 in his 5-under-par 67.

And the man who beat Im and Smith to the Green Jacket two years ago? Dustin Johnson carded a 3-under-par 69 to join 2016 champion Danny Willett, World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and Joaquin Niemann in a share of third.

Im was happy to address the echo of two years ago, stating that: "Memories of 2020 give me confidence that I can win here at Augusta National."

Smith, who has recorded three top 10 finishes at Augusta in his first five visits, was sanguine about his peculiar Thursday entrance and sign off.

"To be honest, the double bogeys really didn't have bad shots in them," he said. "It's not like I was scratching it out of the trees. Got my second shots into reasonable spots and just misjudged the wind on both wedges, leaving myself in tough spots.

"Other than that, it was just really solid and I love this place. I know it presents plenty of birdies so I really just had to get in a groove and I felt really comfortable with my irons today."

Off the back of his 2022 successes in the Tournament of Champions and PLAYERS Championship, he also felt safe in the knowledge that he could recover from the poor start.

"I just have belief in my game," he said. "I know that if I'm playing well, I can make plenty of birdies, and there's 54 holes left out there. I'm looking forward to it."

He also revealed that he was as in awe of Woods as the rest of the world. Moreover, playing behind Woods in a two-ball with Bryson DeChambeau (after Paul Casey was forced to withdraw), he was granted the best seat in the house.

"Because we were waiting so much, you just can't not watch him," he said. "I almost felt like a patron out there at some points today. It's an inspiration that he is coming back."

In a final replay of past Masters, Rory McIlroy failed to break par in the first round for a fourth consecutive year, his 73 following the 73-75-76 he has carded in the last three editions.

READ MORE: The Masters 2022: Tiger Woods makes superb start in Augusta National comeback

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