AUGUSTA, Ga. – Larry Mize felt he could win the Masters for a second time. Yep, even at 50, Mize thought he had a chance.

In Thursday’s first round at Augusta National Golf Club, he proved it.

Mize, who had not shot a round under par at the tournament since 2000, fired a 5-under-par 67 to finish in the top five. Mize will play in the first group in Friday’s second round.

“If I play like I did (Thursday) every day, I’ve got a chance,” said Mize, who won the tournament in 1987. “And I still believe. You’ve got to believe, and I do, and this is a great start for me this week.”

Mize birdied the second and third holes before a bogey on the fourth hole, but he responded with another birdie on the fifth hole. On each of the birdies on the front nine, he made putts of 6 feet or fewer.

He continued his strong play on the back nine when he birdied the 10th, 13th and 14th holes. On No. 10, he made a 15-foot birdie putt, and he finished off the birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 with 5-foot putts.

“Playing here a lot certainly helps,” said Mize, who is making his 25th Masters appearance. “The local knowledge certainly helps. And you’ve played here, and you have positive rounds and obviously have won the tournament to draw back on, and that’s always a good thing.”

Mize’s Masters win is certainly one of the most memorable in the tournament’s history. He will always be tied to Greg Norman after winning the 1987 tournament in a playoff. Mize chipped in from 140 feet on the second playoff hole (No. 11) to hand Norman one of his three heartbreaking second-place finishes in the tournament.

“Greg and I, we get along fine,” Mize said. “We’re not buddies that go out to eat, but we get along. Greg’s a nice guy. We always talk. I saw him down at a tournament a couple of weeks ago and told him, ‘Great playing at the British Open (last summer)’ because I hadn’t seen him in a while. I was pulling for him; I think a lot of guys were.

“Our paths crossed here 22 years ago, and that happens, but we get along fine.”

Norman is also playing well, shooting a 2-under 70, and he sounded pleased to hear about Mize’s round.

“Good for Larry,” Norman said. “Well, that’s great to see him playing that well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of scores come out of this course.”

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