Norwegian player Viktor Hovland has posted a seven-under-par score to share the lead after round one of the US Masters, with fellow first-round leaders Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Hovland will tee off at 6.24 pm BST on Friday alongside Tiger Woods and Xander Schauffele. Irish golfer Shane Lowry will play in the second-to-last group while veteran Bernhard Langer and Tom Kim, the club pro at Augusta National, will be among the first players to tee off. Brooks Koepka will be alongside Hovland in the fourth-to-last group. Rory McIlroy, aiming for the final leg of a career Grand Slam, is one-over for the tournament.
The first round was delayed by almost three hours due to lightning, with play having to be suspended at 4:36 pm with many groups still to finish their first rounds. The afternoon round was pushed back by 96 minutes with play resuming at around 7.00 pm. Masters officials have previously stated that the competition will end on Sunday, but history suggests there could be provisions for an extra day. In 1935, Gene Sarazen forced a play-off, which he subsequently won, with a shot that is remembered as one of the greatest in golfing history, on the 15th hole of his final round.
Hovland, who won his first PGA title in Puerto Rico in February, started the tournament with a birdie at his first hole, then made another birdie at the par-three sixth after an approach to five feet. He also sank a 30-foot putt at the 10th and birdied the 13th, 15th and 16th holes. A chip-in from off the green on the par-three fourth was the highlight of Koepka’s round, which featured four birdies and a bogey. Rahm started well with three birdies in his first five holes before dropping a shot at the sixth. He picked up a birdie at 15 and finished his round with another at 18.
Defending champion Tiger Woods had a mixed day, posting a two-over-par score, complaining about his “slow” pace of play and alerting officials to the issue of fans ignoring requests to wear masks. Bryson DeChambeau, the world number five, finished on two-under while previous Masters winner Phil Mickelson ended on one-under. A “tough” day for England’s Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood saw the former finish with a score of five-over, and the latter with six-over.