McIlroy and Westwood struggle at Masters

Rory McIlroy wants the Masters to finish a profession Grand Slam

Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman share the early clubhouse lead on the opening day of the Masters however Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood struggled on Thursday.

Matsuyama, who might change into the primary Japanese participant to co-lead a spherical at Augusta National, sits alongside American Harman at three below par.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy completed the day seven photographs again at 4 over par with Englishman Westwood at six over.

Defending champion and world primary Dustin Johnson is at two over par.

World quantity two Justin Thomas, US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2015 Masters winner Jordan Spieth are among the many late starters on day one.

Matsuyama, the world quantity 25, made two birdies had an eagle three on the par-five eighth and seemed to be on for a bogey-free spherical, earlier than a dropped shot at 17 pegged him again to 3 below.

World quantity 50 Harman additionally carded a 69 in a spherical that included 4 birdies and only one dropped shot.

Debutant Will Zalatoris is effectively positioned after signing for a 70 that places him one stroke off the lead at two below par, tied with fellow American Webb Simpson and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Patrick Reed, the 2018 champion, can also be one again after bogeying the 18th, having climbed right into a share of the lead with back-to-back birdies on the sixteenth and seventeenth holes.

This is the primary main to be performed with spectators for the reason that 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush, with round 1 / 4 of the as much as 50,000 patrons normally welcomed at Augusta National in attendance.

Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson
Lee Westwood was enjoying alongside Dustin Johnson on Thursday

The previous two Masters have yielded the bottom common scores within the iconic main’s historical past however agency greens and gusty circumstances brought about issues for some on Thursday.

Among these was McIlroy, who endured his customary sluggish begin as he carded three bogeys on the bounce by means of 5, six and 7, along with his wayward strategy on the latter even hitting his dad, Gerry, on the leg.

The Northern Irishman is chasing a profession Grand Slam and has begun working with famend swing coach Pete Cowen in a bid to regain kind after sliding to twelfth on this planet rankings.

He adopted that run of bogeys with a birdie on the par-five eighth, however dropped one other shot at 9 to hit the flip at three over after which discovered the water at 11 and 13.

The 31-year-old rolled in a birdie from 4 toes on the par-five fifteenth to drag one again and completed with three successive pars to publish a four-over 76.

American Johnson posted a report profitable whole of 20 below par when he claimed the Green Jacket in November and is aiming to change into solely the fourth man to defend his title after Jack Nicklaus (1965-1966), Nick Faldo (1989-1990) and Tiger Woods (2001-2002).

He was in a position to benefit from smooth circumstances to win his second main title within the autumn however made a bogey-birdie begin to his defence and was one over for the entrance 9 after dropping a stroke on the fifth.

The 36-year-old, who had solely 4 bogeys all week when he received, regarded to have kickstarted his spherical with a chip-in birdie from 17 yards on the eleventh and added one other birdie on the par-five thirteenth to get to 1 below.

But he bogeyed 16 after which watched a bogey putt on 18 lip out from 4 toes, finally signing for a two-over-par 74.

Johnson was enjoying alongside Westwood, who arrived in Georgia with son Sam on his bag as one of many sport’s kind gamers, having already carded two second-placed finishes in 2021.

But a double bogey on the third set the tone for the 47-year-old, who was being talked up this week as somebody who might break Nicklaus’ report because the oldest Masters champion.

The former world primary is but to win a significant and faces a monumental job if he’s to interrupt that duct, with an additional six bogeys and two birdies leaving him effectively off the tempo at six over.

Elsewhere, Ian Poulter made seven bogeys and 5 birdies to complete at two over, with fellow Englishman and 2016 champion Danny Willett and Wales’ 1991 winner Ian Woosnam two additional again at 4 over.

English novice Joe Long, who tore a glute muscle whereas browsing with a buddy within the build-up to Augusta, struggled on his debut and completed on 10 over par.

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