Follow all the action as The Masters gets underway in what promises to be a thrilling first major of the year, with Augusta’s greens exceedingly fast and firm after last November’s soft conditions.
Dustin Johnson is bidding to defend the Green Jacket after his record-breaking victory but arrives in somewhat questionable form. Meanwhile, after a disappointing previous outing, Bryson DeChambeau will once again rely on his gunslinging heroics to dismantle one of golf’s most revered courses.
Rory McIlroy has been out of form, too, but has been inspired by a recent visit to Tiger Woods’ home and remains desperate to complete the career Grand Slam. Justin Thomas is sure to be a threat, after a strong finish last year and a cathartic victory at the Players Championship. Jon Rahm has not been able to practice properly ahead of the tournament, owing to the birth of his first child, but has a great record at Augusta and warmed up brilliantly on Wednesday as he seeks to clinch the maiden major of his career.
Johnson was a popular winner last year, having grown up just an hour away from Augusta, however, it’s Jordan Spieth who will surely be the crowd’s favourite, with a limited number of spectators allowed through the gates. The past champion ended a four-year trophy drought last week at the Texas Valero Open and has been in terrific form for several weeks. The same can be said of Lee Westwood, who leads the English charge alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton.
Follow live updates from day one at Augusta:
THE MASTERS 2021: MCILROY AND RAHM UNDERWAY
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele take to the first tee. This promises to be a brilliant group and all three find the fairway.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 15:51
THE MASTERS 2021: JOHNSON MAKES BOGEY
Dustin Johnson’s defence gets off to something of a flat start. His drive just trickled into the fringe and seemed to come out a little hot, skipping over the back of the green and he can’t get up and down. Lee Westwood safely makes par.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 15:47
THE MASTERS 2021: JOHNSON GETS DEFENCE UNDERWAY
Defending champion Dustin Johnson opts for a hybrid off the first tee. He is playing alongside Lee Westwood, who’s been in fantastic form, and the winner of the US Amateur Championship Tyler Strafici.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 15:39
THE MASTERS 2021: SWAFFORD SLIPS BACK INTO PACK
Finally a crack shows in Swafford’s unlikely armour at the 10th after his approach leaked into the greenside bunker from the middle of the fairway. He’s punished for that mistake and slips back into the pack of players at one under, which includes Kim, Ancer and Kisner.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 15:37
THE MASTERS 2021: DISASTROUS START FOR HOVLAND
A dreadful start for Hovland at the first. He attempts to take an aggressive line out of the trees but his ball clips a branch and he’s forced to chip back into the fairway for his third. From there, his approach trickles over the back and he elects to chip rather than putt. That proves a mistake, the ball running some six feet past the hole and his putt was always drifting low of the hole. A triple bogey for the Norwegian. Watson, who played a terrific shot from the face of the bunker, and Koepka both make par.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 15:23
THE MASTERS 2021: KOEPKA AIMS TO OVERCOME KNEE TROUBLE
One of the first star groups has just begun their round. Brooks Koepka, who underwent minor knee surgery ahead of this year’s tournament, partners two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and prodigious Norwegian Viktor Hovland. Koepka’s drive leaks a little right but takes a nice kick back into the fairway. No such luck for Watson who finds the sand with a three-wood before Hovland clatters a pull into the trees down the left.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 15:17
THE MASTERS 2021: KIM ADVANCES AS SWAFFORD STUMBLES
It’s been pitch-perfect from Swafford out in front so far but a three-putt on the 8th green squanders what should have been a simple birdie. There is better success for Si Woo Kim, though, the 2017 Players Champion. The South Korean birdies the par-5 2nd before a laser-like approach into the 3rd finishes just 9in from the hole.
-2: Swafford (9), Kim (3)
-1: Jones (7), Schwartzel (3), Kisner (2)
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 15:04
THE MASTERS 2021: SLIM SCORING A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?
It’s slim picking out there so far for the early starters. Just four of the 23 players out on the course are under par, with Danny Willett the latest to fall foul of the slick greens with a three-putt at the 1st. Poulter managed to briefly get in the red with a nice birdie at the par-5 2nd but it didn’t last for long. His approach into the short par-4 3rd came up way short and he makes bogey.
-1: Jones, Schwartzel, Kim
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 14:52
THE MASTERS 2021: MACINTYRE MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE
There isn’t long before the likes of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy get underway, but while Hudson Swafford keeps a stranglehold over the early starters, here is some more reading to get yourself in the mood. Robert MacIntyre will make his Masters debut this afternoon. The 24-year-old Scot, whose humour is as dry as his golf is bullish, makes clear he’s not in Georgia to make up the numbers.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 14:40
THE MASTERS 2021: POULTER STARTS WITH A PAR
Ian Poulter has always insisted he’ll have no regrets if he retires without winning a major, but that flippant attitude won’t fool many. He has come close at Augusta before, with three top-10 finishes, and starts his round with a cool par at the 1st, his drive perfectly straight, the approach just trickling into the fringe before two easy putts.
Swafford remains our sole leader at -2 and has just hit a gorgeous drive down straight down the 7th fairway.
Tom Kershaw8 April 2021 14:25