Justin Rose Shoots 65 To Lead Masters By Four

Augusta National shows its teeth on a tough opening day

Justin Rose
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Rose puts together an incredible run to set the pace on day one of the 85th US Masters

Justin Rose Shoots 65 To Lead Masters By Four

Justin Rose is back in a familiar place - atop the Masters leaderboard, courtesy of a scintillating seven-under 65 on the opening day at Augusta National.

The former world number was two over through seven - but after an eagle at the next, the two-time Masters runner-up went on an incredible birdie blitz.

He picked up shots on nine and ten, and make a mockery of Amen Corner with further gains at 12 and 13, before rolling in three successive birdies from the 15th.

What made the round even more remarkable was that it came on a day when the greens were firm and fast, which meant celebrations were few and far between.

Not for Rose, and whilst he knows only too well how Augusta can bite back, he stole a march on the field on Thursday.

Justin Rose

Justin Rose shoots 65 on the opening day [Getty Images]

No Joy For Bryson...

Meanwhile, Bryson DeChambeau, one of the pre tournament favourites, made a scrappy start, with a double-bogey on the par-3 4th, and he followed that with further dropped shots on 5 and 8.

Much of the talk ahead of the Masters, as expected, focused on how the big-hitting American would tackle Augusta, especially following his explosive start to the season.

However, despite taking a more measured approach than normal, he battled with his game for most of the day - and his sole birdie came at the par-5 15th.

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau was wayward on the opening day [Getty Images]

... Or Rory

He wasn't the only one to struggle.

Rory McIlroy, who's still chasing the Grand Slam and a first Major since 2014, slumped to an error-strewn 76.

Given his mediocre form leading into the event, it was perhaps no surprise to see the Ulsterman out of sorts, especially given he's only just started working with Pete Cowen.

Even so, the 31-year-old will be disappointed to find himself playing catch up in a Major once again.

And there weren't many highlights from round one for the four-time Major winner to cling to.

In fact, the most memorable shot of his round was his second on the 7th, when he managed to strike his father, Gerry

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy cut a dejected figure for most of the first day [Getty Images]

Mixed Bag For In-Form Spieth

Spieth is heading in the opposite direction to McIlroy, although the 2015 champion didn't exactly have his ball on a string on Thursday.

The three-time Major winner came to Augusta full of confidence after winning the Texan Open last week, but he too struggled with his swing at times.

Having ended his infamous barren run on the eve of the Masters, one that stretched way back to the 2017 Open Championship, he's been tipped for success by many this week.

And despite racking up a seven on the par-4 9th after a trip to the pines, he did his quest for a second Green Jacket no harm with a solid back nine.

Solid Starts For Reed And Johnson

Defending champion, Dustin Johnson got himself in a decent position, before slipping up late on with a bogey on 16 and then a double at the last.

Even so, given the conditions, the world number one will be happy enough with the start of his defence.

And so too will Patrick Reed, who despite finishing his round with a bogey, ended the day at two under, a shot behind Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama who share second.

Dustin Johnson

World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson made a solid if unspectacular start [Getty Images]

An Emotional Day

The day begun with Lee Elder joining Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player for a historic ceremony.

Elder, 86, was the first Black player to participate in the Masters in 1975, and although he was unable to hit the traditional tee shot because of health issues, he was moved by the experience, one that he said he would cherish for the rest of his life.

Related: The 2021 Masters Begins! Lee Elder Joins Honorary Starters

Former Masters champions Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson were on the first tee to watch the ceremonial start as was Cameron Champ, one of four PGA Tour members with Black heritage.

"To earn an invitation to the Masters and stand at that first tee was my dream and to have it come true in 1975 remains one of the greatest highlights of my career and life," said Elder.

"To be invited back to the first tee one more time to join Jack and Gary means the world to me."

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.