Wednesday 23 August 2017

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy to have exciting playing partners as Masters groupings are announced

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the fifth tee during a practice round prior to the start of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the fifth tee during a practice round prior to the start of the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club

Phil Casey

World number one Dustin Johnson faces a lengthy wait before beginning his bid for a fourth straight victory and a second major title in this week's Masters.

Johnson will be the penultimate player in the 94-man field to hit his opening tee shot at Augusta National after being drawn in the final group at 2.03pm (7.03pm BST) local time on Thursday.

The US Open champion, who has finished sixth and fourth in the last two years, will partner two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson and US PGA champion Jimmy Walker in the opening two rounds of the year's first major.

Rory McIlroy will start his bid to become the sixth player to complete the career grand slam at 1.41pm in the company of Spain's Jon Rahm and Japan's Hideto Tanihara.

And defending champion Danny Willett, who is looking to join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo in winning back-to-back titles, gets his campaign under way at 12.24pm alongside Matt Kuchar and Australian amateur Curtis Luck.

Matt Fitzpatrick, one of a record 11 English players in the field, tees off at 10.34am alongside 2015 champion Jordan Spieth and former world number one Martin Kaymer.

Spieth held a five-shot lead with nine holes to play 12 months ago, but bogeyed the 10th and 11th before running up a quadruple-bogey seven on the 12th.

Offaly's Shane Lowry will play alongside Sergio Garcia and England's Lee Westwood.

Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus will act as honorary starters at 7.40am, with Masters officials opting not to bring in a replacement for the late Arnold Palmer, who performed the role from 2007-2016 before his death last September.

American Russell Henley, who was the last man into the event by virtue of his victory in the Shell Houston Open, is in the first group out in the tournament proper at 8am alongside compatriot Daniel Summerhays.

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