Posted 35mminutes ago
Marc Leishman is no stranger to wild swings at the Masters.
And the Victorian is certainly in the middle of one as the Australian tilt at the 85th Masters struggles in tough conditions at Augusta National, with Englishman Justin Rose leading the tournament at 7-under in the latter stages of day one.
- None of the five Australians are under par on day one of the 85th Masters at Augusta
- Marc Leishman got to 4-under at one stage, but he finished at even par after a round of 72, seven shots behind clubhouse leader Justin Rose
- Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy had a day to forget, shooting 4-over 76 and hitting his father in the leg with an errant shot
Despite an incredible start from Leishman, none of the five Australians were under par late in the opening round of the 2021 edition, but they weren’t alone as rock-hard greens and blustery winds returned the teeth to Augusta National.
There was a little bit of deja vu for Leishman. In 2014 he came out firing in the second round with three quick birdies taking him to the tournament lead. Incredibly he would then drop 10 shots in the next 12 holes to ultimately miss the cut.
It wasn’t quite as bad this time around.
Leishman’s first six holes on Thursday (local time) yielded four birdies, some of which were as good as you’ll see on the hallowed turf. But after a couple of pars he added four bogeys between the ninth and 14th holes.
He continued to battle away to finish at even par to pace the Australians, with Matt Jones next best after he fought back with two late birdies to shoot a two-over 74 in the second group of the day.
“I came home strong. I made a couple of mistakes out there, but it’s getting windy so it’s going to be very tough this afternoon for these guys,” Jones said in his first Masters appearance since his debut seven years ago.
“I would have liked to have played a few better than 74, but I don’t think it’s going to be too bad overall.”
Adam Scott, the 2013 champion, was still trying to claw something out of his round as he made the turn.
He was 2-over through 10 holes.
Cameron Smith, the 2020 Masters runner-up, was four-over through nine, while former world number one Jason Day could muster no better than a five-over 77 and is well off the pace.
Later in the day, Rose took the lead thanks to a run where he gained six shots in as many holes starting with an eagle at the eighth.
He went from 2-over to 4-under, and then birdied the par-five 15th before a perfect tee-shot on the famous 16th left him with a 3 metre birdie putt, which he dropped.
By the time he birdied the 17th as well he had established a four-shot break on the field. He finished with a 7-under 65.
Among the favourites, defending champion and world number one Dustin Johnson was even par through his opening 16 holes, before a double-bogey on the last left him with a 74.
Big-hitting Bryson deChambeau had a horror start to be 4-over after 15, Patrick Reed had a 1-under par 71, while Spain’s Jon Rahm — who arrived late at Augusta after the birth of his first child on the weekend — had an even par 72.
Rory hits dad with errant shot
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy didn’t get off on the right foot in the opening round.
In fact, he capped a sequence in which he recorded three straight bogeys by striking his father, Gerry, on the leg with an errant approach shot on the seventh hole.
Gerry McIlroy was unharmed and even quick with a joke, telling reporters: “I should ask for an autograph.”
The younger McIlroy unintentionally has provided a source of comedy with some of his recent misfires.
Lest we forget when McIlroy took on water on March 24 at the World Golf Championships Match Play event in Austin, Texas.
The four-time major champion’s tee shot on the fifth hole sailed wide left at Austin Country Club, bounded off the cart path and bounced over a fence before resting in a nearby swimming pool.
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