Saturday 16 December 2017

At a glance: All the highlights from Day One of the Masters

Rory McIlroy watches his shot from a bunker onto the second green
Rory McIlroy watches his shot from a bunker onto the second green

Phil Casey

Defending champion Danny Willett and Rory McIlroy both produced battling performances on a highly eventful first day of the Masters, but still found themselves well adrift of inspired leader Charley Hoffman.

Hoffman defied swirling winds which gusted up to 35mph at Augusta National to card nine birdies and two bogeys in a stunning seven-under-par 65, 10 shots better than the field average.

That gave the Las Vegas-based player the largest first-round lead in the Masters since 1955, with compatriot William McGirt his nearest challenger four shots back on three under. McIlroy and Willett both recovered from being three over to shoot 72 and 73 respectively.

TWEET OF THE DAY

"Bit weird. The current Masters 1-2-3 is the 52-53-54 in the world." @MattCooperGolf with one for the anoraks out there.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Hoffman birdied all four of the par threes, with the pick of the bunch coming after a superb tee shot on the 16th left him just two feet for a third birdie in succession.

ROUND OF THE DAY

Hoffman's 65 did not look on the cards when he stood one over par after five holes on a windy day, but the 40-year-old birdied eight of the remaining 13 - including four in a row from the 14th - to leave the field trailing in his wake.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"It sucks really bad" - Dustin Johnson on his forced withdrawal due to injury.

STATISTIC OF THE DAY

In the last 11 years, the eventual champion has been within four shots of the lead after the first round. That narrows the list of potential winners down to Hoffman and McGirt.

TOUGHEST HOLE

The first is no bargain at the best of the times, but the tough conditions and a tricky pin made matters worse, with English amateur Scott Gregory and American Brian Stuard both taking seven. James Hahn made the only birdie and the 445-yard hole played to an average of 4.548.

EASIEST HOLE

Unsurprisingly it was a par-five which played the easiest, with the 13th just edging out the second thanks to an average of 4.710. Defending champion Danny Willett was the only player to make an eagle, but there were also 34 birdies and just one double bogey.

ON THE UP

Bungalow rentals for the 2018 Masters after world number one Dustin Johnson was forced to withdraw before the start of his first round due to a back injury suffered when slipping on some stairs in his rented accommodation.

ON THE SLIDE

Former champion Jordan Spieth was supposed to exorcise the demons of his quadruple-bogey seven on the 12th in last year's final round, and duly made par. But three holes later he contrived to make a quad on the 15th on his way to an opening 75.

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