The Masters: Justin Rose charges ahead of four shots with first-round commander 65

Justin Rose shot a stunning 65 in the first round of the Masters.

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Justin Rose took a four-stroke lead Thursday with a stunning back nine that saw him finish on par seven under.

Despite a brace after seven holes, the Englishman rallied and hit an eagle in the eighth and seven birdies between the ninth and 17th to close four shots ahead of Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama, second.

The first round also saw a number of tournament contenders struggling.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson scored a brace of 74 points, while last year’s US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau finished by four points. DeChambeau is tied with Rory McIlroy, whose task of finishing a career Grand Slam with a Masters victory has had a rocky start.

“I knew two on seven didn’t mean the end of the world, but I also knew you were going in the wrong direction,” Rose, two-time Masters finalist, said of her slow start.
“You can’t win the golf tournament today. Even with a 65, you can’t win it today. You can probably only lose it today.

“I haven’t hit the panic button yet (after seven o’clock) but I reset right before that and thought if I could get back to par it would be a good day’s work. “

This is the fourth time Rose has led or co-led the Masters after the first round, a record he now shares with Jack Nicklaus.

The 40-year-old, playing his first tournament since retiring from the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month with a back injury, was one of only three players to finish under 70 alongside Harman and Matsuyama – all in contrast to last year’s tournament at 24. players shot scores below 70 under favorable conditions in November.

Tommy Fleetwood hits a hole in one memorable at the MastersTommy Fleetwood hits a hole in one memorable at the Masters

Rose’s only major triumph came at the 2013 US Open; The closest he managed to getting a green jacket at the Masters was in 2017 when he was beaten in the playoffs by Sergio Garcia.

“I have played this course many times, this is maybe my 15th Masters, and my best so far is 67,” said Rose.

“I felt the conditions today weren’t the day to go hit them and have your personal best there.

“It was quite windy – windy enough to be tricky – and obviously the greens are incredibly firm and fast. The pin locations were correct, certainly not easy, but fair, and if you hit the right shot at the right time, you could profit from it. ”

As for those lower in the standings, DeChambeau entered the Masters armed with a new driver and high expectations, but the heavy hitter landed a number of tee shots down the fairway in the first round.

Bryson DeChambeau searches for his ball on the fourth hole.Bryson DeChambeau searches for his ball on the fourth hole.

His 76 included a double bogey in the fourth and bogeys in the fifth, eighth and 12th before his only birdie on the 15th.

DeChambeau was joined by McIlroy on four points, the Northern Irishman having finished in the top 10 in August National six times, but never getting a Green Jacket.

The Masters win looks likely to elude him once again as he pulled six bogeys between the fifth and 13th holes on Thursday. It also turned out to be an eventful day as he hit his dad with a stray shot on the seventh.

World number one Johnson, who won his second major title with a record 20 under at last year’s Masters, began his bid to become the fourth player to win a Green Jackets in a row with a 74.

Well placed on a sub with three holes to play, Johnson bogeyed the 16th and double bogeyed the 18th after his putt came out of the hole.

Another former champion, Jordan Spieth, who returned to the winner’s circle last week with his first win in nearly four years, rallied behind the back nine after a triple bogey in the ninth to finish on a sub.

2018 champion Patrick Reed finished the day tied for fourth with two under, while Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm – second and third in the world rankings – finished one over and one par respectively.

CNN’s Ben Morse contributed reporting.

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