After nine holes in the first round of the Masters tournament yesterday, Lee Elder was tied for the lead. When he finished his round by missing three putts inside two feet, Elder was tied for 19th.

Elser's two-under-par 34 became a one-over-par 73 when he missed a two foor par putt at No. 14, a two-foot birdie putt at No. 15 and an 18-inch par putt at No. 16. The putts at 14 and 16 rimmed nearly the entire circumference of the cup and stayed out.

Ironically, his short game had been Elder's strong suit the earlier holes. He got birds from the fringe on both par 3, and saved pars at the first, seventh and 10th holes.

"I was real solid for 12 holes," the Washington golfer said. "Then it was an up-and-down thing. I felt the pins were in as tough a position as I've ever seen on any golf course. And the wind was a factor.

"I'd be setting up for a shot with it in my face. Then it all of a sudden would be at my back. And then, when I'd adjusted for that, it would be a cross wind. But though I'm very disappointed this was the best first round of my three Masters."

A hint of later problems came at the par-5 13th hole. Elder was within 15 feet of an eagle, after a drive and long iron shot, but his putt was less than an inch off line.

"I was a little too firm," he said of the back-nine putts he missed. Elder al so bogeyed the par-4 18th hole, after his drive caught a fairway trap and his chip skipped 20 feet past the hole.

Elder's bird at the 220-yard fourth hole was a downhill putt from the fringe.