IMAGE: England’s Justin Rose performs out from the bunker onto the 2nd inexperienced throughout the first spherical of the Augusta Masters on the Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, USA on Thursday. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
A exact Justin Rose tamed a windy Augusta National to carry a four-shot lead after the primary spherical of the Masters on Thursday while defending champion Dustin Johnson was amongst plenty of top players who struggled in difficult situations.
Rose, twice a Masters runner-up, had finished little to excite the spectators readily available as he was two over after seven holes, however went on a scorching run to card a seven-under-par 65 that marked his profession low at Augusta National.
That left the 40-year-old Englishman 4 pictures away from Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and American Brian Harman. Former champion Patrick Reed and 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson had been amongst a pack of 4 golfers an extra shot off the lead.
“I felt like the conditions today were not the day to go hit them and have your personal best out there,” stated Rose.
“It was pretty windy — well, windy enough to be tricky, and obviously the greens are incredibly firm and fast.”
Rose, who withdrew from his final begin a month in the past with again spasms, kicked off his torrid run on the par-five eighth the place he made eagle after his method shot from 275 yards bounced off a greenside slope and settled 9 toes from the cup.
From there, Rose was locked in and birdied all however three of his remaining 10 holes in probably the most good stretches of golf ever seen on the Masters.
“You can’t win the golf tournament today,” stated Rose, who has held the first-round Masters lead 4 instances.
“Even with a 65 you can’t win it today. You can only probably lose it today, obviously.”
This Masters has a way more acquainted look as it’s again in its conventional April slot because the 12 months’s first main while followers had been welcomed again, though in restricted numbers and with protocols in place to cut back the chance of COVID-19 transmission.
A wild end left Johnson (74) 9 pictures again of the lead as he struggled with considerably fiercer situations in comparison with the toothless Augusta National format he triumphed on 5 months in the past in record-setting type.
Johnson was one beneath when he reached the par-three sixteenth however made bogey after his tee shot rolled off the inexperienced and carded a double-bogey on the 18th after his tee shot sailed proper.
“Playing definitely a lot tougher just because, when the greens are firm and fast here, the golf course plays difficult,” stated Johnson, whose 20-under-par 268 whole final 12 months was the bottom in Masters historical past. “Then you add the wind in today, it made it play really difficult.”
Former champion Jordan Spieth, among the many favorites and recent off his win final week on the Texas Open, completed with a one-under-par 71 after a roller-coaster spherical that included a triple-bogey, bogey, three birdies and an eagle.
Spieth acquired into hassle on the par-four ninth when, after an errant drive, he tried to ship his ball via a maze of timber however as an alternative hit certainly one of them and it ricocheted backwards resulting in a seven.
The three-times main champion recovered with a birdie at 10 after which eagled the par-five fifteenth to salvage his spherical.
Bryson DeChambeau, whose bid to overpower Augusta National final November when he was the pre-tournament favorite failed, got here into this 12 months’s Masters driving excessive after his win at Bay Hill final month however once more was left scratching his head.
DeChambeau’s day began to unravel on the par-three fourth the place he made a double-bogey after he discovered a bush along with his tee shot after which barely chopped it out. He added three extra bogeys earlier than a birdie on the fifteenth for a four-over-par 76.
World quantity two Justin Thomas, who completed fourth at November’s Masters and has heated up since, was anticipated to lean on his stellar iron play to get within the combine however as an alternative bogeyed three of his first seven holes en path to a one-over-par 73.
Spanish world quantity three Jon Rahm (72), who’s competing 5 days after his spouse gave delivery to their first youngster, combined two birdies with two bogeys.
Rory McIlroy (76) made an inauspicious begin to his newest bid to finish the profession Grand Slam as he carded his worst opening spherical on the Masters and even hit his father with an errant shot that led to at least one his six bogeys.
The day started when a clearly moved Lee Elder, who in 1975 turned the primary Black man to compete within the Masters, was warmly welcomed as he joined Nicklaus and Gary Player as a brand new honorary starter for the 2021 event.
“I think it was one of the most emotional experiences that I have ever witnessed or been involved in,” stated Elder, who has restricted mobility and didn’t hit a tee shot.