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The Masters 2023: First Round – Live

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Jon Rahm is asked by Sky Sports about that four-putt farce. “If we forget about what happened on the green on 1, that felt about as comfortable as I’ve felt all year … I was a lot less frustrated than people will think … I hit every putt on the line I wanted … obviously three were not at the speed I wanted … but that sometimes happens … every single putt, the stroke was good … if you can get over that, if you put in good strokes, they’re eventually going to go in … I hit another good putt on 2 and another on 3 and that kinda got me going.”

Jordan Spieth larrups his second at the par-five 8th wide right of the green. No matter! He whips his chip to five feet, and walks the birdie putt in. He’s now -4, having made just two pars in the first eight holes, and this leaderboard is studded with star names. Look!

-7: Hovland (F), Rahm (F)

-5: Young (F), Koepka (15), Burns (9)

-4: Lowry (F), Schauffele (F), Scott (F), Bennett -a- (9), Spieth (8)

-3: Woodland (15), Day (13), Niemann (12), Scheffler (9)

Birdies for a couple of the in-form big hitters. Scottie Scheffler at 9, the champion turning in 33, almost with cat-like stealth. Brooks Koepka at 15, moving to within a couple of the leaders. Then back on 9, Rory McIlroy leaves his approach well short of the flag, and is remotely pestered by the CBS commentators again! “Aw, I eased off on it,” is his disappointed analysis. Hats off to him for not telling them to chip off, though to be fair he seems more than content to have broken new Masters ground. “Pleasure! Happy to be the first one to do it!” It’s then pointed out that there’s “an amazing record” regarding the players who have done this in previous tournaments: almost all of them went on to win. “I think that’s why I wanted to do it!” he laughs, before leaving his long birdie putt short. Par, and he turns in 35.

CBS engage Rory McIlroy in a mid-round walk’n’talk as he makes his way down 9! “It’s been a little bit of a struggle … it’s still pretty receptive … you’re seeing guys go after it … hopefully I can do the same on the back nine … I’ll stick to the gameplan … I just want to be as patient as possible … we’ve still got 64 more holes left … plenty of time to make some birdies … I’m just going to play golf until they tell us not to … it’s spitting a bit right now … the weather is going to be a little dicy … you have to adapt the best as you possibly can.”

You don’t need a time machine to know what Clifford Roberts would have thought about this particular innovation, do you.

Say what you will about Phil Mickelson, but the man’s a showman. Having turned in 34, the 52-year-old LIVeteran dunked his approach at 11 into the drink, running up a double bogey in the process. He’s since followed that up with birdie at 12, and an eagle putt on 13 that turned right on its last turn and shaved the side of the cup. All of which mean the three-time champ is back to -2, and he couldn’t, could he? No, he won’t, don’t be daft. But he could!

Phil Mickelson reacts after missing a putt on the 13th hole. Photograph: David J Phillip/APIt’s that usual first-day-of-a-major mantra: Rory McIlroy needs something to happen quicksmart. He draws a fine approach at the par-five 8th around the trees and into the heart of the green, then the eagle putt from 20 feet shaves the side of the cup. Birdie is better than nothing, and he’s moving the right way, back up to +1. Birdie meanwhile for his playing partner Sam Burns as well, and he moves to -5.

Cam Smith plays the 18th in textbook fashion. A drive down the middle. An iron into the heart of the green. A 15-footer rolled across it and in. A birdie that gives the Open champion an opening round of 70. He’s -2.

Joaquin Niemann has won a couple of times on the PGA Tour, but never threatened to come close at a major championship. The 24-year-old Chilean is threatening to right that wrong this week. Birdies at 2, 7, 8 and 9 means he’s turning in 32 strokes. He’s -4. Also very much heading in the right direction: Jordan Spieth, who arrows his approach at 7 over the bunker guarding the front of the green before pouring in from ten feet. He’s -3. Meanwhile on the par-five 8th, a disappointing par for the defending champ Scottie Scheffler, who remains at -2.

Jon Rahm shoots 65Par for Cameron Young at 18. He signs for a five-under 67. Playing partner Justin Thomas, who has never quite been on it this afternoon – his birdie effort from 12 feet never looks like dropping, a microcosm of his round – nevertheless signs for a two-under 70. But the third member of the group, Jon Rahm, having stuck his second to three feet, tidies up for his birdie, and walks off wearing a huge smile. A round of 65. Having doubled the opening hole, where he took four putts, he played the remainder of the course in nine under! That’s one of the great Augusta performances, because Rahm, a notorious hot-head, could easily have careered off the rails after that farcical start. Now he’s joint leader!

-7: Hovland (F), Rahm (F)

-5: Young (F)

Jon Rahm hits his tee shot on the 18th hole. Photograph: Brian Snyder/ReutersAfter finishing the hole with a birdie, Rahm looks pleased with his first round performance. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty ImagesRory McIlroy makes a complete hash of 7. He flubs his chip from behind the bunker into the trap, then after splashing out to give himself a chance to limit the damage from four feet, horseshoes the bogey putt. A double that drops him to +2, and not for the first time at Augusta National, he’s started cold. Last year he was always behind the eight-ball after opening with two rounds of 73. They eventually cost him dear as he finished three behind Scottie Scheffler. History is threatening to repeat itself already.

A downbeat finish to Adam Scott’s round. He slices his drive into the trees down the right of 18, and is forced to take his medicine, chipping out sideways. In the end, he does well to limit the damage to bogey. The 2013 champion signs for a four-under 68. Meanwhile on 13, Brooks Koepka can’t get up and down from distance to save his par, even though he gives it a good go by wedging to 12 feet and shaving the cup with his putt. He slips back to -4.

A fast start for the 2015 winner Jordan Spieth. Birdies at 2 and 3, a bogey at 5, and now a 20-foot putt drained from the fringe on 6 that brings him back up to -2. The 2021 champion Hideki Matsuyama has been going along without fuss: he’s -2 through 16 after birdies at 2 and 9. And the former PGA and Open champion Collin Morikawa has just added birdie at 7 to the one picked up at 2; he’s -2 as well. A lot of big names edging up the leader board … but Rory McIlroy isn’t one of them, and he’s once again out of position, this time at 7, having sent his tee shot into trees on the left, then whistled his next one over a bunker at the back of the green. Good luck getting up and down from there.

Jason Day has been coming back into form after a couple of quiet years. He turns up the volume with a glorious iron over the flag at 9 to set up his second birdie of the front nine, following a two at 4. He turns in 34. Meanwhile some trouble for Brooks Koepka on 13, as he hooks deep into the woods down the left. He’s forced to take his medicine, chipping back out, then laying up on the elongated par-five. He’ll need to get up and down from 110 yards if he’s to salvage his par.

Viktor Hovland shoots 65!Par for Xander Schauffele at 18, and he signs for a very acceptable opening round of 68. Tiger can only splash out from the bunker to 22 feet, and can’t make the par saver. The bogey means he’s carding a first round of 74; he’s +2. But Viktor Hovland, hitting from the same bunker as Woods, swishes a much more delicate escape to six feet, and tidies up for his par. A blemish-free round of 65 for the 25-year-old Norwegian!

-7: Hovland (F)

-6: Rahm (17)

-5: Scott (17), Young (16), Koepka (12)

-4: Lowry (F), Schauffele (F), Bennett -a- (6), Burns (6)

News of Sergio, who for a while threatened to barge his way into the mix after birdies at 6 and 8 took him to -2. Well, that dream wasn’t destined to last. Bogeys at 10, 13, 14 and 15 meant he came back in 40, and the 2017 winner ended the day with a two-over 74.

Tiger sends his tee shot at 18 just short of Sandy Lyle’s bunker. He’s got to hit his second with his right foot in the sand, supporting most of his body weight; it’s the right ankle that causes him so much bother post-crash. He can only flay the ball into the bunker before hopping around in pain. Not easy to watch. Meanwhile back on 12, Brooks Koepka swishes his tee shot to eight feet, and makes the birdie putt. He joins Scott and Young at -5.

It’s three birdies in four holes for Jon Rahm, who has been on a tear around Augusta National since finding himself +2 on the 2nd tee. The latest comes at 16, reward for knocking his tee shot to ten feet. Rahm is going around with Cameron Young, who also birdies the par-three to keep hot on Hovland’s heels. Xander Schauffele drops back though, with bogey at 17.

-7: Hovland (17)

-6: Rahm (16)

-5: Scott (17), Young (16)

Another big save for Rory McIlroy, who leaves himself a ten-footer for par on 5. In it goes, and he remains at level par, albeit not firing on all cylinders. Doing rather better, the LIV rebel and three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson. Lefty has been struggling to break 70 on the LIV tour of late, but back-to-back birdies at 8 and 9 see him turn in 34. He’s -2 and in the sort of nick nobody predicted or even bothered dreaming about!

An unhappy story. Carl Jackson, the legendary Augusta National caddie who was on the bag for Ben Crenshaw’s 1984 and 1995 wins, says he no longer feels “welcomed” at the event after not being granted a pass for this week’s major. Ewan Murray reports.

Jon Rahm’s performance, given the four-putt fiasco on the 1st, has been little short of outrageously good. Birdies at 2, 3, 7 and 13, eagle at 8, and now another birdie at 15, having found the green in two before nearly making a 60-foot putt from the fringe. We’re barely halfway through Thursday, and already we’ve got a stellar leader board. This, weather permitting, could shape up to be a classic!

-7: Hovland (16)

-5: Schauffele (16), Scott (16), Rahm (15)

-4: Lowry (F), Young (15), Koepka (10), Burns (4)

-3: Kirk (17), Bennett -a (4)

A bit of bother for Rory McIlroy, who sends his tee shot at the par-three 4th up onto a bank back-right of the green. He’s not got a lot of green to play with, the flag nearby, but bumps a cute chip down to kick-in distance, and that scramble could prove incredibly important in terms of momentum. A second birdie in a row for Tiger on 16, meanwhile, and while he’s visibly limping, he’s back in the mix to make the weekend at +1. Things weren’t looking so great 30 minutes ago.

A word on the Belfast amateur Matthew McClean, who for a few minutes early this morning led the Masters by two strokes at -2. He was +2 through 15, before bogey at 16 and a double at 17 sullied an otherwise impressive round. He finished with 77 and goes into Friday at +5. Meanwhile the 1987 and 1988 winners Larry Mize and Sandy Lyle prop up the leader board having shot 79 and 81 respectively. It’s their last competitive outing here, but whatever happens, Mize will always have that chip-in on 11, Sandy that bunker shot at 18. Thanks for everything, chaps.

The 2013 champion Adam Scott has been quiet since his early birdies at 2 and 3. A string of pars up until another birdie at 14, then he only just gets over the water at 15. His anxious face soon turns into a broad smile as his ball rolls to ten feet. In goes the eagle putt, and suddenly – with the aforementioned Chris Kirk following up that near-albatross on 13 with birdies at 15 and 16 – the leaderboard has a fresh new look!

-7: Hovland (16)

-5: Schauffele (16), Scott (15)

-4: Lowry (F), Rahm (14), Koepka (10), Burns (3)

-3: Kirk (16), Young (14), Bennett -a- (4)

Rory is going around with Sam Burns, and the new Match Play champion has fair flown out of the traps. He makes no mistake chipping up the bank at 3, knocking his ball to four feet and making another birdie. His start: birdie-eagle-birdie, and he’s already four shots clear of McIlroy. Par for Tom Kim, just to complete news of the group; he remains at -2.

A fine finish to a fine round for Shane Lowry! He rolls in a 15-footer for birdie on the last, and signs for an excellent four-under 68. But elsewhere the Irish charge suffers a couple of blows. From the second cut on 3, Rory McIlroy can’t bundle his ball up onto the dancefloor, a mistake leading to a bogey that cancels out the shot he picked up at 2. He’s back to level par. Meanwhile a painful double on 16 for Seamus Power, the result of hooking his drive behind trees down the left of 17. That topples him back to -1.

Shane Lowry hits his approach on the 18th. Photograph: Mike Segar/ReutersXander Schauffele finds the 15th green in two big hoicks. He’s left with a 50-footer for eagle, and doesn’t hit it, leaving himself a tricky downhill five-footer for his birdie. No bother, in it goes. He moves to within two of the leader Hovland, who, on in three after his wayward tee shot, settles for par. That’s probably done for his dream of breaking the course record of 63; he’ll need three birdies on the closing three holes to break it. He remains at -7. The third member of the group, a certain Tiger Woods, steers in a 30-footer with a huge left-to-right break for a birdie that brings him back to +2.

-7: Hovland (15)

-5: Schauffele (15)

-4: Rahm (13), Koepka (9)

The small margins demonstrated on the short par-three 3rd. Scottie Scheffler nearly holes out from exactly the same spot he did on Sunday last year, for the birdie that set his procession going in the right direction. This time the chip, from the bottom of the swale front-left of the green, shaves the flag. No eagle, and he then misses the five-footer for birdie. Just the par this time. He remains at -2.

Scottie Scheffler, his caddie Ted Scott and amateur Sam Bennett wait to play on the third tee. Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesA careful two putts from the back of 2 by Rory McIlroy, and that’s the pre-tournament second favourite’s first birdie of the week. He’s -1. His playing partner Tom Kim meanwhile has started birdie-birdie, no doubt fuelled by the delicious fare on offer at Augusta National. He’s -2. But the best start in the penultimate group has been made by Sam Burns, the Match Play champion following birdie at the opening hole with eagle. It’s not taken Burns long to insert himself into this tournament.

-7: Hovland (14)

-4: Schauffele (14), Rahm (13), Koepka (8)

-3: Lowry (17), Power (16), Scott (14), Young (13), Bennett -a- (2), Burns (2)

Viktor Hovland hooks deep into the trees down the left of 15. Safe to say he’ll be laying up with his second. Back on 13, Cameron Young, having missed a par tiddler on 12, makes up for it by holing a 20-foot left-to-right swinger for a birdie that takes him back to -3. An up and down meanwhile for his partner Jon Rahm, from the bunker at the back of the green. He’s -4. And on 2, Rory McIlroy finds the back of the green with his second and will have a look at eagle from 30 feet.

Xander Schauffele peppers the pin at 14, and follows up his birdie at 12 with a second in three holes. His playing partner Viktor Hovland finds himself in trouble up a greenside bank yet again, but just like back on 10, tickles a chip down to a couple of feet and scrambles his par. Meanwhile on 8, a ten-foot Brooks Koepka eagle putt shaves the left-hand side of the hole, and LIV’s finest has to settle for a birdie. He’s right in the mix now, and that mix looks exactly like this …

-7: Hovland (14)

-4: Schauffele (14), Koepka (8)

-3: Lowry (16), Power (15), Rahm (12), Bennett -a- (2)

An absolute dream start for the 22-year-old US Amateur champion Sam Bennett. An opening birdie, followed by a chip-in at 2 for eagle! He’s -3 in the blink of an eye. He’s going round with the reigning champion Scottie Scheffler, who also eagles 2, creaming his second from 200 yards to three feet. He’s -2. And it’s a shaky, if ultimately satisfying, start for Rory McIlroy, who sends his opening tee shot into the trees down the left of 1, then his second down a swale to the right of the green, only to gently bump his chip up to four feet. He tidies up for a par that will feel like a birdie the way he played the hole.

Sam Bennett celebrates after chipping in for and. eagle on the 2nd hole. Photograph: Brian Snyder/ReutersThanks Bryan. Now then, a couple of near misses to report. On 16, Sahith Theegala nearly aces, but has to settle for a kick-in birdie that brings the 24-year-old US debutant back to +1. But there were even greater scenes elsewhere, as local hero Chris Kirk came within a hair’s breadth of making only the second albatross on 13 in Masters history, creaming a fairway wood over the creek to a couple of feet, the ball rolling apologetically inches to the left of the hole. Jeff Maggert remains the only man to make a double-eagle, as the Americans like it, on Azalea, which he did in 1994. Kirk tidies up for just an eagle – just an eagle! – and having been +4 after five holes, he’s clambered all the way back to -1.

Chris Kirk marks his ball on the 13th green. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty ImagesHovland misses the eagle putt from about 25 feet, but taps in for another birdie. He’s -7 through 13 and four shots clear of the field. A remarkable start for the Norwegian, who can do no wrong today.

-7: Hovland (13)

-3: Lowry (15), Schauffele (12), Rahm (11), Young (11), Koepka (7)

-2: Stallings (F), Reed (16), Power (14), Scott (12), Matsuyama (10)

… and with that, I’ll hand things back to Scott Murray. Bye for now!

Viktor Hovland lines up his eagle putt on the 13th green. Photograph: Mike Blake/ReutersViktor Hovland is dialed in! He’s just reached the green of the par-five 13th in two with an iron, leaving him a reasonably good look at an eagle for -8.

Fred Couples has finished his opening round with a one-under 71. The 63-year-old becomes the oldest player to break par at Augusta since Tom Watson’s 71 at the 2015 tournament, when he was 65. Heady stuff.

Will Zalatoris, the 2021 runner-up at Augusta, has withdrawn due to injury before the start of his first round today. The 26-year-old has been battling injury and illness over the past few weeks including a nasty stomach bug at the WGC-Dell Match Play that saw him lose about seven pounds in a week.

Viktor Hovland is racing away from the field. He’s just birded 11 to go three clear of second. This is Hovland’s fourth career start at the Masters and he’s yet to record a score in the 60s at Augusta in 12 prior rounds. That’s clearly on course to change today.

-6: Hovland (11)

-3: Rahm (10), Young (10)

-2: Stallings (18), Couples (17), Lowry (13), Schauffele (11), Scott (10), Matsuyama (9), Smith (9), Koepka (6)

Fred Couples, a 63-year-old playing in his 38th Masters, was +2 through 11. But he’s birded 12, 13, 15 and 17 and is now tied for third at -2. Normal stuff!

Viktor Hovland is a magician. Facing the hole side on, he swings hard but lobs high, landing his ball softly on the fringe to the right of the bunker and rolling it out to four feet. That is absurd! Anything within 20 feet was a result from there.

-5: Hovland (10)

-3: Rahm (8)

-2: Lowry (12), Schauffele (10), Scott (9), Young (8), Koepka (4)

… and with that, I’ll hand over to Bryan Armen Graham, who’ll give you the view from Stateside for the next hour. See you again soon!

Viktor Hovland chips onto the 10th green. Photograph: Mike Blake/ReutersA groan from the leader Viktor Hovland, who shoves his second into 10 towards the bank to the right of the green. He’s up on a mound, shortsided with a bunker in between his ball and the hole. Oh dear. God speed from there. Meanwhile Scott Stallings finishes strongly, following up birdie at 15 with another on 18, and the 37-year-old journeyman – who has no record to speak of at Augusta – posts an opening round of 70. He finishes the day at -2.

An outrageous second shot at the par-five 8th for Jon Rahm! From the centre of the fairway, 250 yards out, he creams his approach into the green, using the camber on the right to gather his ball to four feet. He tidies up for eagle, and this is simply astonishing given the four-putt shenanigans of the 1st green. Five shots picked up in eight holes, and now look!

-5: Hovland (9)

-3: Rahm (8)

-2: Meronk (14), Lowry (11), Schauffele (9), Scott (8), Young (8), Koepka (3)

Shane Lowry needed to get up and down from 40 yards on 10 to save par. He’s not been able to escape from a similar position on 11, having found himself out of position off the tee, down the right of the hole. He drops back to -2 alongside Adrian Meronk, who chipped in for birdie on 14. Also dropping back: Patrick Reed, who overhit a chip from the back of 12 and nearly sent his ball into the water. It clung on, but he couldn’t make the long putt coming back, and he’s -1.

Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele take turns to screech their approaches at 9 to six feet. Schauffele up first, with an uphill putt. He pours it into the middle of the cup and he’s out in 34, -2 for his round. Hovland is pin high and rattles his birdie putt home. He’s out in 31 and leads this tournament by two. And it’s just a par for Tiger, but it’s a decent scramble from the side of the green, and of course it’s met with the biggest cheer. He turns in 38 and remains +2.

-5: Hovland (9)

-3: Lowry (10)

-2: Meronk (14), Reed (11), Schauffele (9), Scott (8), Young (7)

Oh yes, I forgot, Bryson DeChambeau. He three-putted from the fringe at 2, and had to settle for par. He’s +2 through 3. A reminder that some of these LIV lads may not be tournament sharp. Having said that, look at Patrick Reed, and now Brooks Koepka, who birdies 2 and moves into red figures in short order. He’s -1.

Tiger’s playing partner Viktor Hovland also makes birdie from the bottom of the swale at 8! The 25-year-old Norwegian had also hit a poor second towards the trees only to get away with it; he takes advantage of his good fortune to hit the top. Meanwhile back on 7, another birdie for Jon Rahm, who moves into red figures at -1, a magnificent effort given the four-putt double on the opening hole. It’s all happening!

-4: Hovland (8)

-3: Lowry (9)

-2: Reed (10), Scott (7), Young (6)

A first birdie of the day for Tiger, in slightly wild circumstances. His second into the par-five 8th dices with the trees down the left. He’s lucky to get over them all, and finds himself at the bottom of a huge swale … from which he bundles a chip up to kick-in distance. So close to an eagle that would have really put a new complexion on his round. He’s +2.

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