US Masters: Day One

The year's first Major gets underway at Augusta, with Rory McIlroy seeking that elusive green jacket

Johnny Watterson, John O'Sullivan Fri, Apr 7
 
LIVE: US Masters: Day One

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  • 13:11
    Hello folks and welcome to the 81st Masters.
    Is this the year for Rory McIlroy? Will Dustin Johnson, a firm favourite, live up to his superstar status and will England's Danny Willett follow Tiger Woods and become the fourth man in golfing history to defend the title after Woods, Nicklaus and Faldo.

    Form says no to that one!
    Play begins at 8.00am Georgia time, which is 1pm Irish time. It was raining cats and dogs for the par 3 event yesterday so lets start today off on a better note with a bright picture...
  • 13:12
  • 13:24
    So you can time your fav player in the first round - McIlroy as you already know begins his round after 6pm Irish time.

    8am (1pm): Daniel Summerhays, Russell Henley
    8.11am (1.11pm): Trevor Immelman, Brendan Steele, Jhonattan Vegas
    8.22am (1.22pm): Mike Weir, Billy Hurley III, Scott Piercy
    8.33am (1.33pm): Larry Mize, Brian Stuard, *Stewart Hagestad
    8.44am (1.44pm): Soren Kjeldsen, Kevin Chappell, Jim Furyk
    8.55am (1.55pm): Sandy Lyle, Sean O’Hair, *Scott Gregory
    9.06am (2.06pm): Zach Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Hadwin
    9.17am (2.17pm): Tommy Fleetwood, Gary Woodland, JB Holmes
    9.28am (2.28pm): Adam Scott, Kevin Kisner, Andy Sullivan
    9.39am (2.39pm): Francesco Molinari, Daniel Berger, Thomas Pieters
    10.01am (3.01pm): Fred Couples, Paul Casey, Kevin Na
    10.12am (3.12pm): Russell Knox, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama
    10.23am (3.23pm): Branden Grace, Brooks Koepka, Jeunghun Wang
    10.34am (3.34pm): Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Matthew Fitzpatrick
    10.45am (3.45pm): Phil Mickelson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Si Woo Kim
    10.56am (3.56pm): Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose, Jason Day
    11.07am (4.07pm): Rod Pampling, William McGirt
    11.18am (4.18pm): Mark O’Meara, Hudson Swafford, Roberto Castro
    11.29am (4.29pm): Ian Woosnam, James Hahn, *Brad Dalke
    11.40am (4.40pm): Ross Fisher, Pat Perez, Byeong Hun An
    11.51am (4.51pm): Jose Maria Olazabal, Ryan Moore, Webb Simpson
    12.13pm (5.13pm): Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Bernd Wiesberger
    12.24pm (5.24pm): Danny Willett, Matt Kuchar, *Curtis Luck
    12.35pm (5.35pm): Vijay Singh, Emiliano Grillo, *Toto Gana
    12.46pm (5.46pm): Angel Cabrera, Henrik Stenson, Tyrrell Hatton
    12.57pm (5.57pm): Charl Schwartzel, Steve Stricker, Mackenzie Hughes
    1.08pm (6.08pm): Charley Hoffman, Chris Wood, Yuta Ikeda
    1.19pm (6.19pm): Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Shane Lowry
    1.30pm (6.30pm): Bernhard Langer, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed
    1.41pm (6.41pm): Rory McIlroy, Hideto Tanihara, Jon Rahm
    1.52pm (6.42pm): Marc Leishman, Bill Haas, Justin Thomas: 2.03pm (7.03pm): Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker
  • 13:25
  • 13:31
    Straight from the PGA -
    Masters favorite Dustin Johnson took a serious fall on a staircase Wednesday and injured his lower back, and his manager said it was uncertain whether the world's No. 1 golfer would be able to play the tournament.
  • 13:34
    Johnson is due to land on the first tee at 6.45. He is scheduled to play in the second last grouping along side Marc Leishman and Bill Haas.
  • 13:40
    The Press Association are on the Dustin Johnson story and are unsure of exactly what happened Johnson.

    "David Winkle, his manager at Hambric Sports, said Johnson fell on the stairs at the home he is renting in Augusta.

    "He landed very hard on his lower back and is now resting, although quite uncomfortably,"
    Winkle said in an email.
    "He has been advised to remain immobile and begin a regimen of anti-inflammatory medication and icing, with the hope of being able to play."
  • 13:42
  • 13:43
  • 13:47
    Russell Henley, out in the first group has made the first birdie of the Masters. He is followed by the wonderfully named Daniel Summerhays. Henley nabbed the first on the par 5 second hole and is -1 thru 2 holes.
  • 13:53
  • 13:55
    Irish Times golf correspondent Philip Reid watched the ceremonial drive that always begins The Masters event...
  • 13:55
  • 13:57
    Early starter Russell has just undone his early good work and has followed his birdie at the second with bogey on the par 4 third hole. A five there leaves him at even par thru 3 holes.
  • 14:04
    Nice tribute pic from Jack Nicklaus to his old foe and buddie Arnold Palmer. Last year Palmer watched the ceremonial drive from a chair and looked frail. But he has now passed away leaving Nicklaus and Player as survivors of the 'Big Three'
  • 14:04
  • 14:06
    Every patron entering the grounds of the golf club this morning will get a special badge commemorating the man often called the godfather of modern golf:
    “I am a member of Arnie’s Army, Est. 1959, April 6, 2017.”
  • 14:09
    There is a 30 mph wind blowing around Augusta. temperatures are going to drop so the ball won't travel as far. So tough conditions on the first day coming back from the course.
  • 14:15
    Weather wise it is supposed to be good today despite the high winds at Augusta. But the sound of thunder and lightening can be heard in the back ground. Don't quite know how far away that is but lets hope the day doesn't turn out like Wednesday, when the par 3 event was washed out completely.
  • 14:19
    Zach Johnson 187 yards out from the green at the first hole is long and left into the patrons, making them scatter from a coveted position they took up probably hours ago.
    You can't win The Masters on Thursday. But you can lose it - there I said it.
  • 14:19
  • 14:23
    Zach pitches the full length of the green but leaves himself with a 10 foot putt back. He's a great putter and don't expect him to miss. ALTHOUGH. There are leaves blowing around the greens, not the peaceful Masters setting you'd imagine.
    Adam Scott on the first tee.
  • 14:27
    Zach rolls his par putt three feet past the first cup. Remember Errnie Els here last year when he six putted and traumatised the world let alone himself. But....it drops. Zach is 1 over afeter one.
  • 14:31
    Louis Oosthuizen, wrapped up in a wooly beanie and altogether Louis could have a mission finding his ball.looking like it is not like the weather in Africa. He sticks his drive from the second tee into the woods on the left. Zach stitches his on to the fairway.
  • 14:32
  • 14:40
  • 14:40
  • 14:45
    The leader board says that Helney shares the lead with Kevin Chapell at this early stage. Both are -1, Henley thru 7 holes and Chappell after two holes.
    Henley was the final man to secure his place in this year’s field. He did so by winning the Shell Houston Open last weekend, his final-round 65 overhauling Kang Sung-hoont.
  • 14:46
  • 14:50
    Winds are forecast to reach 40 mph. Not only is it nice that the Americans still use the imperial system (no I don't know what that is in kph) but it means the pros will have to play in conditions they do not like...
    And Chappell moves to -2 thru 3 holes to lead the field.
  • 14:54
    Adam Scott misses the first green. Not bad but his pitch to the first green reaches the top of a slope - a buried elephant in there to ne sure - up to the hole.
    But it just slows down and stops and begins to roll back and back and back. His long, long putt does not hit the mark and Scott walks away with a bogey. All smiles though from the Aussie.
    Did we say you have to get up and down at The Masters - there I said it !
  • 14:55
  • 14:59
    Difficult start there for the English amateur Scott Gregory. He's battling hard not to unravel at +4 after two holes.
    Rickie Fowler is off in about 15 minutes.
  • 15:05
    Tough scoring out there for sure. The last player to shoot in the 70s and lead The Masters after round one was Jack Burke in 1957.

    The players now are struggling with distance down wind with a lot of approach shots going over the green.
  • 15:08
  • 15:13
    Yikes the champion from 1988, Sandy Lyle, is on the first page of the leader board. The Scott is 1 under par thru four holes.

    Lyle was the first British winner of the Masters and put Scottish haggis on the menu for the Champions' Dinner the next year
    He was taught the game by his late father, Alex, the long-time professional at Hawkstone Park in England
    Won the 2014 World Hickory Open at Panmure GC in Carnoustie, Scotland, using pre-1935 clubs with hickory shafts, carding scores of 76-69 for a three-stroke victory
    In May 2015, along with Nick Faldo, became an honorary member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
    Keep it going Sandy.
  • 15:19
  • 15:20
    Here we go here we go...
  • 15:20
  • 15:24
    Six players are now at -1 on the ever changing leader board. Those include Scotland's Lyle, Americans Henley, Piercy, Chappell, JB Holmes and England's Andy Sullivan.
  • 15:27
    Bogey, par, par. That's Adam Scott. Still smiling and quite a decent smile he has too.
    What did we say about ever changing? Piercy and Holmes now -2. It appears the long hitters are powering through the wind a little bit.
  • 15:33
  • 15:36
    And don't think this means anything at this stage of day 1 with the wind gusting and few players getting to grips with it..
    Leaders-
    -2: Piercy (7), Holmes (3)
    -1: Chappell (5), Lyle (5), Sullivan (3), Pieters (2)
  • 15:38
    We sent our golf correspondent Philip Reid on a walk around the course. He's been there before, maybe 20 times but there's always something new to report back....
  • 15:38
  • 15:41
    And talking about old dogs of an altogether different ilk, who could James Corrigan be possibly talking about. The subject matter is women."I Say, jolly good."
  • 15:41
  • 15:48
    Adam Hadwin shot a 59 in Palm Springs. This week was supposed to be his honeymoon but events took over. The 29-year-old. was the first Canadian to post a sub 60 round on the PGA Tour. From Moose Jaw up in the wild north, he is swishing the 6th green with his towel to get the debris away from his putting line - totally legal.
    But he three putts the hole to go to +1.
  • 15:49
  • 15:50
    Maybe The Club that was the old DJ - NOT the new
  • 15:53
  • 15:53
  • 15:55
    Dustin Johnson is hopeful of starting the Masters, but his coach Butch Harmon is saying that he is still in pain. Okay, here's what the rugby players do. They get a doctor with a big needle and he or she sticks it into the sore area. Next thing you are smiling and happy and able to run through walls.
  • 15:57
  • 16:08
    Fowler with birdies at 2 and 3 goes to the top of the leader board as co leader. The much liked Californian shot an opening round 80 at last year's Masters. He's looking like that won't be repeated.
  • 16:13
    We were beginning to think this was to be a day of sadness at the 81st Masters for Louis Oosthuizen.However, back-to-back birdies, his latest at 7, and suddenly things aren’t looking quite so bad for the 2012 runner-up at +2.
  • 16:21
    A German leads The Masters. Thomas Pieters leads at three under through five.
  • 16:23
  • 16:27
    There is one of the first roars across the course we have heard this year. and that can be put down to just one man Phil Mickelson.
    Lefty has just shot up the leader board after a regular par on the first hole and an eagle on the par 5 second hole. He's up with the -2 brigade which also has Rickie Fowler, Henley and Piercy.
  • 16:27
  • 16:28
  • 16:30
    Comment From Shane - He's Belgian
    Thank you Shane.
    That's Pieters folks.
  • 16:33
  • 16:40
    Actually John O'Sullivan, who will take over this blog for the evening session has backed the Belgian Pieters at 80-1 (and another half dozen players I might add). Pieters, who leads by one was partner with Rory McIlroy for a couple of rounds in last years Ryder Cup in Hazeltine.
    Come on Europe!
  • 16:42
  • 16:43
    Oh the stats are coming in now...
  • 16:43
  • 16:44
  • 16:47
  • 16:48
  • 16:50
    Thomas Pieters currently leads in his Masters debut. Only 5 players have led outright after 1st Rd of Masters debut. Last: DiMarco in 2001.
  • 16:55
    Mickelson and Pieters are tied for the lead. That's one of the most experienced with one of the least experienced players in the field. Both are -3, Lefty after just four holes with a birdie and an eagle in there. Can he keep that going?
  • 16:57
    The Golf Channel reports Dustin Johnson is cautiously optimistic about being able to tee it up today. He;s due on the tee at 7.03pm Irish time.
  • 16:57
  • 16:59
  • 17:02
  • 17:03
    Lefty has a remarable record over the years at Augusta. Not only his longevity but also his performance levels have been excellent ...
  • 17:03
  • 17:10
    Pieters has taken the outright lead again. He has just birdied his fourth hole and naer a bogey on his card. The young European Ryder Cup player has birdied 2, 4, 5 and eight, two of tose par 5s and one a par 3. He sits on -4.
  • 17:14
    Where is Jordan Spiet you might ask. He is on level par. With a birdie on 2 and a bogey on 5, he has just slipped off being T5th.
  • 17:14
  • 17:21

    This doesn't seem to be a very friendly way to treat your neighbour. The Augusta's clubs' next door neighbours just seem to want them to leave.


    Sorry, it’s not for sale: Meet the homeowners who have resisted Augusta's advances - bit.ly/2nHXtdwtwitter.com/i/web/status/8…

  • 17:25
    Augusta have always curtailed the television coverage of their tournament. So why do they show every blade of grass and happy patron and the par 3 competition and the children of the golfers for the days before and then pull down the blinds on the competitive golf - just saying.
  • 17:28
    England's Tommt Fleetwood (+2) looks like a bit of a dude. It's his first Masters appearance. Long hair out the back of his cap and a moustache - well a dude when he's on a golf course.
  • 17:29
  • 17:33
    Good head on Pieters. He stays in the lead at -4 through 9 holes and will soon face into Amen Corner. He has carded four birdies on a bogey-free card and is holding his nerve. He's also two shots ahead of the field Bill Hurley III on -2 and Big Phil another shot back on -1.
  • 17:36

    Great dark louds are racing across the fairways in Augusta, giant shadows shooting across and down the course at 21 mph and behind them bright sunlight.

    The players are simply hoping to get their approach shots anywhere on the greens.

  • 17:37
  • 17:41
    -4: Pieters (9)
    -2: Hurley III (14)
    -1: Henley (F), Chappell (12), Holmes (10), Sullivan (10), Fowler (8), Mickelson (6), Pampling (4), Hahn (3), Perez (2).
  • 17:42
  • 17:44
    Har har slapstick never fails especially when it's this good...at lawerencedonegan
  • 17:44
  • 17:49
    JB Holmes is the first of the day in the water at the par 3 12th hole. He takes a surly, long walk up to the drop zone.
  • 17:52
    Thomas Pieters moves to five under par in what is shaping up to be the round of the day. The young Belgian has not yet dropped a shot thru 10 holes and had carded five birdies for -5. He leads the field by three shots, Fowler the closest on his tail at -2.
  • 17:56

    So this is the handover to John O'Sullivan, who will take you through the night. At least there is a Ryder Cup player up there at the top of the leaderboard and no better man than John to froth intelligently about his rounds with Rory last year and his impeccable Ryder Cup record.

    Fully satiated on a late full Irish breakfast, the dog is walked, a hour's knock up in Blackrock Tennis Club, the lap top is heating up, the beer cooling and there's six hours of the first day of The Master ahead.....

  • 18:09
    Apologies, it was murder getting across from the range.  
  • 18:11
    Thanks to Johnny. If you appreciated his work during the afternoon, and let's face it, who didn't, you can thank him personally, probably in Finnegan's in Dalkey from about 8.0pm. He's not fussy, Hophouse, Heineken, Carlsberg....
  • 18:14
    Thomas Pieters has dropped a shot on the 11th, his first bogey of the day to slip back to just the four under, two clear of a member of my extended family Andy Sullivan and Ricky Fowler.
  • 18:15
    The news on Dustin Johnson is that he has been on the range hitting balls but there's still no confirmation about whether he'll play.  
  • 18:21
    Right Pieters has caught a dose of the bogeys blues following up his first on the 11th with a double on the par three 12th. He won't be calling it by its cutesy name, 'Golden Bell.' That's three shots gone in two holes and he's back to two under. It'll be a good test of the debutant from here on in. Amen to that.  
  • 18:21
    Okay Johnson was hitting some wedges and has left his bag on the range to go and get treatment.  
  • 18:22
    Defending champion Danny Willett has started double bogey, bogey, birdie.  
  • 18:23
  • 18:25
    Being parochial for a minute, Ireland's Shane Lowry is playing the first hole and Rory McIlroy is outing the finishing touches to his warm-up and will tee off in about 15 minutes.  
  • 18:26

    Summerhays ‘makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine of my mind.’ Okay before you all jump in I know the song is Summer Breeze, originally by Seals & Crofts. I just like to bend it like Phil Mickelson off the pine needles.

     

    Daniel Summerhays (500/1) shot a 74.  

  • 18:28

    Right anyone got any good music/golf links? I’m waiting.    

     

    What about tweaking the band Ram Jam’s lyrics ‘Whoa, Black Betty, Rahm ba lam’ in homage Spain’s new wunderkind Jon Rahm. ‘Viva Jonny Vegas.’ Okay I’ll stop now. That was a bit insenstive about Vegas because he shot a 78.      

     

  • 18:28
    Pieters run of misfortune has extended to his tee shot on the 13th that has careered into the trees on the right of the fairway.  
  • 18:31
  • 18:32

    Young Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick has birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th to move into a tie for the lead on two under.


    Compatriot Justin Rose has managed the same feat on seven, eight and nine.  

  • 18:33
    Russell Henley, last week's winner, is the leader in the clubhouse after posting a one under, 71.  
  • 18:33
    Dustin Johnson is back warming up on the range.  
  • 18:36
    Martin Kaymer (+2) has double bogeyed 10; Tommy Fleetwood (+3) and Kevin Kisner (+4) are struggling while Louis Oosthuizen has battled back from being four over with a couple of birdies.    
  • 18:37
    Humour, you can't beat it.  
  • 18:37
  • 18:38
    I did back Pieters so I'm not going to watch this.  
  • 18:38
  • 18:39
    Spieth (level) is crusing along nicely but Brooks Koepka (+1) has just taken six at the 10th.  
  • 18:39
    Philly Mick fans will be glad to hear he's still one under regulation figures with his favourite part of the course to come.  
  • 18:41
    G'wan young Lowry. This is for all Shane's fans.  
  • 18:41
  • 18:45
    Fowler (-1) bogeys 11, Pieters (-2), despite his errant tee shot on the 13th makes a par, while Jason Day is through the front nine in a tidy enough one over par, given his recent layoff. Anything below a 74 today will be reasonably good shooting in the gusting wind.  
  • 18:46

    Rory McIlroy has never birdied the first hole at Augusta National. He’s had 23 pars and seven bogeys or worse. He’s 4/9 to birdie it this week. I am here all night, folks. Don’t leave me hanging. There’s plenty more where that came from.  

  • 18:50
    Willard Jeremiah Hurley 111, or Billy to his friends, had a rather eventful round. He bogeyed the first and second holes, birdied four of the next 12 and then took a horrible snowman (8) at the par five 15th. He had two more bogeys before eventually signing for a 75.  
  • 18:50
  • 18:53
  • 18:53
    Lowry bogeys the first as does his playing partner and perennial Masters challenger Lee Westwood.  
  • 18:55
    THE DUSTIN JOHNSON WATCH BREAKING NEWS: "I'm gonna try," says the World number one, which translates as he'll hit his opening tee shot at least.  
  • 18:56
    Jordan Spieth now tip-toeing towards the 12th, scene of his horror-show last year in the final round; at the time he had one sleeve in the Green jacket.  
  • 19:02
    Mickelson (level) has bogeyed the 10th. Tyrell Hatton, not a character from Games of Thrones, was fancied by several pundits before the tournament began. He's one over after thee holes.  
  • 19:03
  • 19:04
    Don't think young Willett or Hatton will be trying this today. Excellent teckers though!
  • 19:04
  • 19:06
    DUSTIN JOHNSON HAS WALKED OFF THE FIRST TEE AND BACK TO THE CLUBHOUSE. THAT'S RIGHT I'M SHOUTING.  
  • 19:06
    The world number one appears to have withdrawn from the tournament.  
  • 19:07
    Rory McIlroy found the sand from his opening tee shot.  
  • 19:08
    Here is confirmation on the Dustin Johnson news.
  • 19:08
  • 19:09
    Irish Times Golf correspondent Philip Reid sums up the situation beautifully. He's a way with words that boy.  
  • 19:09
  • 19:10
    Where does it hurt?
  • 19:10
  • 19:12
    BIRDIE: Shane Lowry gets back on an even keel with a birdie at the second. But for the eighth time in 31 goes, McIlroy bogeys the first hole at Augusta.  
  • 19:12
    It was all going so well for Thomas Pieters at this point.  
  • 19:12
  • 19:15
    McIlroy missed the green in two after catching the sand from his tee shot and then couldn't save his par from 27-feet; naturally enough.  
  • 19:18
  • 19:20
    Kevin Chappell (-1) bogey the 18th but that's super start and he joins Russell Henley as the clubhouse leader.  
  • 19:22
    No Tiger, No DJ, No Par Three contest, better keep a close eye on the Green Jacket the way things are going at Augusta.  
  • 19:24
    In other non Johnson related news, Pieters (14), Fowler (13) and Rose (11) are in a tie, at two under, for the lead.  
  • 19:26
    McIlroy has spanked his tee shot 347 yards down the par five, second, splitting the fairway while Shane Lowry will have a 19-footer for birdie on the third.  
  • 19:26
  • 19:32
    Putting woes for Lowry (+1) on the third, a three-stab I'm afraid for bogey. He's yet to have a par.  
  • 19:33
    Dustin Johnson: "I can't swing full, I can't make my normal swing and I didn't think there was any chance I could compete."
  • 19:35
    Pieters (-1) needs the clubhouse quickly after another bogey, this time on the par five, 15th. That's four shots gone since the 11th.  
  • 19:35
    Gallows humour.  
  • 19:35
  • 19:37

    Time for a stat: Best opening round by a Masters' champion en route to winning, Jordan Spieth (64) in 2015, worst, Craig Stadler (75) in 1982.  


    Don't worry I have millions of them.  

  • 19:39
    Speaking of Spieth, he's just glided into a tie for the lead after Pieters, Fowler and Rose all made bogeys. There are 13 players on one under.  
  • 19:39
  • 19:41

    Lowry birdies the fourth to move back to level and he's still without a par.


    McIlroy (+1) fails to do what the vast majority of the field have done today and that is birdie the second hole.  

  • 19:43
    The 2015 Irish Open champion Soren Kjeldsen has signed for an excellent level par 72. He won the Irish Open at Royal County Down in 2015. He was also Paul O'Connell's playing partner in a Pro-Am at Adare Manor and gave the former Ireland and Lions rugby captain a chipping lesson. I tell that story every time he's in contention on the basis that someone might not know that.  
  • 19:44
    Come on there must be someone.  
  • 19:44
    There is a now a 15-way tie for the lead at the US Masters.  
  • 19:44
  • 19:45
  • 19:46
    What's that trumpet I hear in the background. It's a call-to-arms and Pieters has responded with a birdie on the par three, 16th. He is the outright leader on two under, ahead of 14-players on one under.  
  • 19:47
    I wonder what the bookmakers stance will be on potential refunds as Dustin Johnson didn't start. I say wonder but it lasted a nanosecond as I didn't back him.  
  • 19:48
    STAT ATTACK:  At least one player has recorded an opening round score in the 60s every year at the Masters  since 1958. What odds I hear you cry.  
  • 19:48
  • 19:50
    Jick Nicklis A fictional euro bet, Watterson/O'Sullivan? Rory to never win a Masters but... pick a guy out of the field this week and I'll pick Rory (to be ahead of your pick but not win obvs)
  • 19:52
    I can't believe that Jack NIcklis is reading the Irish Times blog.  
  • 19:52
    Right to more serious matters.  
  • 19:53
    Matt Fitzpatrick joins Pieters on two under.  
  • 19:55
    Jack you might want to look away now because McIlroy has bogeyed the third hole, two dropped shots in the first three. Well it's almost like three because the par five second where he had a par is easily reachable in two with a mid iron.  
  • 19:57
    Spieth feels the weight of my expectation and drops a shot on the 14th; back to level par.  
  • 19:58
    Rory in trouble on the fourth, airmails the green. Finish the following sentence. You can't win the Masters on a Thursday but you can..........  
  • 20:03
    BIRDIE: Lowry's back in red figures at the fifth and just one off the lead. He still hasn't had a par. Rose birdies the 13th to join Pieters and Fitzpatrick in a share of the lead.  
  • 20:03
  • 20:06
    McIlroy has watched his tee shot at the 195 yard, par three, fifth, sail about 14 yards over the back of the green.  
  • 20:07
    Former Masters champion Adam Scott bogeyed 17 and 18 in shotting a three over, 75.  
  • 20:08
    Right this blog is about to go turbo on the premise that some live golf is available to watch.  
  • 20:12
    William McGirt makes in a four-way time for the lead. He's 34, from North Carolina and has won once on the Pga Tour since turning professional in 2004. That's Google for you.  
  • 20:12
    Spieth is having flashbacks. He's dumped his third shot into the water on the 15th and flown the green with his fifth.  
  • 20:13
  • 20:13
    Pieters is so far into the trees on the 18th that he may only finally emerge in 2022.  
  • 20:16
    I know you're all dying to known what William McGirt looks like, swings like, walks like, so here you go.  
  • 20:16
  • 20:16
    Pieters has a 10-foot putt for a round of 70.  
  • 20:18
    NEW LEADER: Matt Fitzpatrick claims the outright lead with a seven foot birdie putt on the 15th.  
  • 20:18
    NINE: Yep that's what Spieth's walked off the 15th with folks.  
  • 20:20
    McIlroy's fighting. This putt was for a par on the fourth.  
  • 20:21
  • 20:25
  • 20:26
    DOUBLE BOGEY for Pieters on the last. He signs for a 72. Five under to level in eight holes on the back nine.  
  • 20:27
  • 20:27
    Conversely Matthew Fitzpatrcik has had five birdies in the last eight holes.  
  • 20:29
    Spieth: Last three holes, bogey, quadruple bogey, birdie.  
  • 20:31
    Lowry bogeys the sixth and has his first par on the seventh. He's level par.  
  • 20:33
    McIlroy two putts the sixth for par.  
  • 20:34

    Everybody needs luck in sport but not everyone can have it all the time. Unless of course you’re the Australian world amateur number one, Curtis Luck.

     

    He’s odds-on to finish as the leading amateur and win the silver cup. He’s played in five pro events so far and included in those finishes are 11th in the Australian Open, 49th in the Abu Dhabi Classic and 23rd in the Dubai Desert Classic. That’s fair shooting. He's two over after 10.  

     

  • 20:37
  • 20:37
    Paul Casey (72) while Mickelson (-1) slides in a birdie putt on the 16th.  
  • 20:38
  • 20:39
    No. 1, so far the most difficult on the course:
    1 birdie
    49 pars
    36 bogeys
    5 doubles
    2 triples
    4.5484 (versus 4-round high of 4.474 in 2007)
  • 20:39
    Jason Day (+2) birdies the 15th.  
  • 20:40
  • 20:41
    McIlroy on the pine needles off the tee on the seventh.  
  • 20:41
  • 20:42
    That's Bubba don't you know. Pink driver, pink ball.  
  • 20:44
    Butch Harmon gives Rose the big build-up on the 16th and watches the latter waft it way right. All together 'commentator's c****'
  • 20:45
    Butch watches his protege Ricky Fowler (+1) 73, three putt the home green and offered some homespun wisdom: "his lunch won't taste great."
  • 20:45
  • 20:46
    Spieth (+3) makes par on the 17th.
  • 20:47
    Fitzpatrick makes a super par on the 17th after driving into the trees. He's three under and the leader.  
  • 20:49

    Lowry with a gorgeous chip to the par five, eighth. He's got two and a half feet for birdie and to move to one under.  


    Day (+1) goes birdie, birdie on 15 and 16. The world number three is moving forward in leaps and bounds.  

  • 20:51
    Fitzpatrick on the 18th tee and he snap hooks it into trouble. As Guns 'n Roses might say "Welcome to the Jungle.'
  • 20:51
    McIlroy 20 feet for par.  
  • 20:51
  • 20:57
    BIRDIE: Lowry moves to one under after holing a two-footer on eight. He's had four birdies and three bogeys.  
  • 20:58
    BIRDIE: William McGirt birdies the 16th to take a share of the lead on three under.  
  • 20:58
    McIlroy's pulled his tee shot on the eighth and lets out a roar of disgust.  
  • 20:58
  • 21:01
    Fitzpatrick escapes to greenside bunker in two. Miraculous.  
  • 21:02
    Charley Hoffman (-2) birdies the ninth.  
  • 21:03
    Jason Duffner (-2) birdies the 13th. Time for an update.  
  • 21:03
  • 21:03
  • 21:04
    McIlroy caught sand off the tee shot on eight. He's laid up at the par five instead of being in a position to reach the green.  
  • 21:05

    Spieth (+3) holes a slippery one on the final green for a 75. Considering he took nine on the 15th that's not too bad.  


    Lowry (-1) turns in 35 shots.  

  • 21:06
    McIlroy through the back of eight in three shots.  
  • 21:07
    Fitzpatrick catches his bunker shot heavy, putts up to five feet and then misses his bogey putt. Takes six and finishes with a 71.  
  • 21:07
  • 21:07
  • 21:09
    There are 14 players under par. McGirt leads on three under, Hoffman and Dufner on two under and 11 including Lowry on one under.  
  • 21:09
  • 21:11

    Double bogeys at the last, Pieters, Fitzpatrick, Fowler.  

  • 21:11
    McIlroy chips to about six feet. That'll be such a quick putt.  
  • 21:12
  • 21:12
    John Rahm (-1) birdies the eighth.  
  • 21:14
    BOGEY: McIlroy (+3) watches his par putt, catch the edge of the hole but keep going. Problems all stemmed from the tee shot. Driver has been misbehaving.  
  • 21:14
    The 46-year-old Mickelson signs for a 71.  
  • 21:15
    Dufner (-2) has a short putt, three feet to take a share of the lead.  
  • 21:17
    Right rough for McIlroy from his tee shot on the ninth.  
  • 21:19

    The average age of a Masters champion is 32. Wait for it………………. Those in the field who are 32 years of age included the pre tournament favourite Dustin Johnson who withdrew because of a back injury, Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer, Jonny Vegas, Webb Simpson, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Gary Woodland.

     

    Place your bets.  

  • 21:20
    Day (+2) will have a birdie putt from about 12 feet on the 18th.  
  • 21:21
    Dufner (-3) takes a share of the lead with a birdie on the 14th.  
  • 21:22
    Bernhard Langer (level) a double bogey, two bogeys and four birdies on the front nine.  
  • 21:23
    McIlroy safely on board the ninth green in two.  
  • 21:25

    Defending champion Danny Willett was three over after two holes but an eagle on the 13th has seen him fight back to level par. Splendid.  

  • 21:26
    Justin Rose (71) birdies the 18th.  
  • 21:27
    Brandt Snedeker (75).  
  • 21:28
  • 21:29

    Great putt from McIloy (+3) on the ninth but it just slides past. He takes 39 shots for the front nine and Amen Corner lurks.  


    Jason Day (74).  

  • 21:31
    Fitzpatrick (71): "Very frustrating." He's taking about the 18th where he took double bogey.  
  • 21:31
  • 21:32
    The 22-year-old Spaniard Rahm (-1) holes briliiantly down the slope on ine from about seven feet.  
  • 21:36
    McIlroy takes a three wood off the 10th, shoves it slightly right, finishes with a hanging lie in the rough to a front pin. Yikes.  
  • 21:37
    Rose (71): "Every shot was a gut-check moment. I had a hard time on the greens. I didn;t miss a shot for the first 12 holes, the best golf I have played this year."
  • 21:37
  • 21:37
  • 21:39
    6-5-4-6-5-6, they were Martin Kaymers figues from the 10th. He eventually shot 78.  
  • 21:42
    William McGirt was born in Lumberton, North Carolina and was offered scholarships to college for both golf and baseball. You're welcome.  
  • 21:43
    McGirt's 69 is a phenomenal effort for his first round at Augusta, especially considering the conditions.  
  • 21:43
    Dufner (-2) bogeys the 15th to drop back into a tie for second place.  
  • 21:44
    McIlroys pulls his second shot left on 10. Plenty of green to work with but that's the consolation prize.  
  • 21:45
  • 21:45
  • 21:48
    McIlroy chipe to six feet. Slippery left to right putt for par.  
  • 21:48
  • 21:49
    Charley Hoffman (-3) in a tie for the lead after a birdie on the 12th.  
  • 21:50
    Lowry (-1) flies it into the back bunker on the par three, 12th.  
  • 21:51
    Good news: Lowry's ball settled on the flat in the middle of the bunker.  
  • 21:52
    McIlroy (+3) holes a real clutch putt. Lot of break and quick.  
  • 21:52
  • 21:52
    McGirt: "It's pretty darn special." Yep.  
  • 21:53
    McGirt played with Bubba and Spieth in practice. Nice guy.  
  • 21:57
    Els who six-putted the first green 12 months ago, is level par after 16 holes. Ernie was 1000/1 with some bookies before the start of play today.  
  • 21:58
  • 22:02
    Lowry (-1) gets up and down from the back bunker on 12 but McIlroy (+3) misses the green with his second shot on the 11th. That's going to be a one in 10 chance of getting down in two.  
  • 22:04
    Hoffman (-3) in the hazard on 13 with his second shot.  
  • 22:05
    Hoffman will have seven feet for his par.  
  • 22:07
    McIlroy magic. Wonderful touch. Should salvage a par.  
  • 22:07
  • 22:08
    Willett (level) holes a goodie on the 16th for par.  
  • 22:08
  • 22:09
  • 22:12
    Hoffman (-3) holes for par on the 13th after being in Rae's Creek. It's named after an Irishman. The creek that is, not Hoffman.  
  • 22:13
    Those with a macabre taste. This one's for you.
  • 22:13
  • 22:13
    McIlroy over the back of the 12th with his tee shot.  
  • 22:14
    Els (-1) birdies the 17th.  
  • 22:14
  • 22:14
    Garcia (-1) in the hazard on the 13th.  
  • 22:16
    Brilliant drive, wonderful second from Lowry on the 13th. About 15-feet for eagle.  
  • 22:18
    Rahm about 10 feet for par on 12, McIlroy eight feet, same drill.  
  • 22:19
    Garcia chips stone dead for par on the 13th having been in the water.  
  • 22:19
  • 22:21
    Rahm (level) bogeys 12. McIlroy (+3) saves yet again.  
  • 22:22
  • 22:23

    BIRDIE: Lowry (-2) can't find the bottom of the cup with his eagle putt but taps in for birdie. Hon the Offalyman. He's one behind the leaders, McGirt and Hoffman.  


    Justin Thomas (level) in climbing up the leaderboard after a slow start.  

  • 22:26
    Kuchar (level) birdies 16 and 17.
  • 22:26
  • 22:26
  • 22:27
    Just as I post that leaderboard, Hoffman makes a proper Charley out of me by holing from 15 feet on the 14th and the outright lead on four under.  
  • 22:28
  • 22:29
    Not sure where McIlroy's drive has gone on 13; neither is he.  
  • 22:34
    Lowry will have anout an 18 foot birdie putt on the 14th. Just a little bit too much action on his approach. Could have been even better.  
  • 22:35
    Ernie Els (72). Three over front nine, three under on back. Needs to finish in the top 11 to get into the Masters next year.  
  • 22:35
  • 22:36
    BOGEY: Dufner (71) drops a shot on the last hole.  
  • 22:36
  • 22:38
    Lowry (-2) makes par on the 14th.  
  • 22:39
    McIlroy may or may not be in Rae's Creek on 13. Rahm definitely is.  
  • 22:40
    McIlroy is in the hazard.  
  • 22:43
    Rahm chips to a foot. That'll be a par save.  
  • 22:43
    McIlroy was not in the hazard. Plugged in the bank. You can't get the help these days.  
  • 22:44
    BIRDIE: McIlroy (+2) makes the most of his good fortune.  
  • 22:45
    BIRDIE: Hoffman (-5) makes it back to back birdies, his sixth and seventh of the round. Can he take that score home?  
  • 22:46
    Willett charges birdie putt six feet past on the 18th.  
  • 22:47
    Willett (73), three putts home green. Three over after two holes with a 6-6 start. Defending champion fought hard and well.  
  • 22:49
    Els: "It was so difficult out there, it's crazy." He says this might be his last Masters after 23 goes. He needs top 11 to keep that run going.  
  • 22:50
    I like Thomas Bjorn's commentary.  
  • 22:52
    Hoffman (-5) in to about four feet for birdie on the 16th.  
  • 22:58

    Lowry laid up at the par five, 15th, barely cleared the hazard with his third and has left his putt, eight feet short.  

  • 22:59
    McIlroy will have five feet for par on the 14th.  
  • 22:59
    BOGEY: Lowry (-1) three-putt six on the 15th.  
  • 23:00
    BIRDIE: Hoffman (-6), three birdies in a row on the 14th, 15th and 16th.  
  • 23:01
    McIlroy (+2) holes out for par and has the par five, 15th coming up.  
  • 23:02
    Hoffman bisects the 17th fairway.
  • 23:03
    Lowry on the 16th tee, scene of his hole-in-one last year. He's 100/1 to repeat he feat.  
  • 23:06
    Lowry's tee shot stays on the upper ridge. It'll be like trying to stop a golf ball halfway down a flight of wooden stairs. IMPOSSIBLE.
  • 23:06
  • 23:11
  • 23:12
  • 23:15

    BOGEY: LOWRY (level) three putts, back to back bogeys.


    BIRDIE: Lee Westwood with four birdies in a row moves to one under.  

  • 23:16
    McIlroy laid up on 15th and his approach finishes about 12 feet away for birdie.  
  • 23:19
    BIRDIE: Hoffman (-7) holes from three feet after a stunning second shot to the 17th. That's four birdies in succession and a four shot lead going to the last hole.  
  • 23:19
  • 23:20
    Hoffman is eight under for his last 12 holes. It's CRAZY golf in the conditions.  
  • 23:21
    BIRDIE: McIlroy, superb putt back to one over par with three to play.  
  • 23:21
  • 23:23
    Bubba holes for birdie from a different post code.....90 feet?
  • 23:23
    Westwood (-1) has eight feet for a fifth consecutive birdie on the 17th.  
  • 23:24
    Lowry over the back of the 17th green in two shots.  
  • 23:25
    Hoffman in the left rough on the 18th.  
  • 23:27
    BIRDIE: Westwood (-2) makes his fifth birdie in succession.  
  • 23:28
    McIlroy (+1) almost holes his tee shot on the 16th. Two feet for birdie. Lowry (level) gets up and down on the 17th.  
  • 23:31
  • 23:33
    BIRDIE: McIlroy (level) makes it three birdies on the back nine.  
  • 23:34
    Lowry rips it up 18.  
  • 23:36
    There's no way Lee could go incognito at Augusta.  
  • 23:36
  • 23:37
    Hoffman (-7) leaves a putt on 18 on the lip trying to make a fifth birdie in succession. A magnificent 65. Back in 31 shots.  
  • 23:38
  • 23:38
  • 23:43
    Lowry in to about 15 feet, Westwood in bunker, Garcia 60 feet away.  
  • 23:45
    Westwood plays his bunker shot to about a foot. That'll be a superb 70.
  • 23:47
    McIlroy stripes a drive down 17 and then hits a superb second to about nine feet. He'll have that for a third birdie in a row and potentially red figures.  
  • 23:48
    Lowry (72) two putts for par on the 18th. Bogeys on the 15th and 16th will hurt but a good round in the conditions.  
  • 23:48
  • 23:48
    Garcia (71).  
  • 23:51
    McIlroy shaves the edge with his birdie putt. He's level par going to the last.  
  • 23:52
    Watson (+1) holds an outrageous par putt on the 16th. A kilometre of break down the slope.  
  • 23:56
    McIlroy left rough on 18.  
  • 23:57
  • 23:58
  • 00:03
    McIlroy misses the green left. Very tough up and down.  
  • 00:07
    Super chip McIlroy, four feet for a round of 72.  
  • 00:07
    Considering McIlroy was three over after 12 and displayed a wonderful touch around Amen Corner to rescue pars, it's been a brilliant effort.  
  • 00:10
    Rahm bogeys 17 and 18 to shoot a 73.  
  • 00:10
  • 00:11
    Tanihara (76).  
  • 00:12
    McIlroy tidies up for a 72.  
  • 00:14
    McIlroy (72) and Lowry (72) in a tie for 12th place. Super effort from both men although they'll feel a little different about their fortunes. McIlroy struggled for 12 holes, Lowry a couple of mistakes down the stretch. They're all chasing Hoffman (65) with McGirt his closest pursuer (69).  
  • 00:14
  • 00:22

    Leishman (72), Thomas (73), Bill Haas (75).

     

    Thank you very much for your comments and your company. I'll be back tomorrow at lunch-time to continue the blog as the race to pursue Charley Hoffman begins in earnest. It's shaping up nicely.  

  • 00:22
  • 00:26

    Two players left on the course, Walker (+4), Watson (+1)


    McIlroy: "Really pleased. After nine holes if someone told me I was going to shoot even par I would have ripped their hand off."  

  • 00:26
  • 00:30
    Right I'm definitely off now. Watson (74), Walker (76). Goodnight.