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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Ben Portnoy

Who’s hot, who’s not and more takeaways from Round 1 at the Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — We’re off and running with the 87th Masters tournament.

It’s been a wild first day at Augusta National and the stars showed out on Day 1. It’s still early in this tournament, but there’s almost certainly going to be some big names in the mix come Sunday.

Here are some takeaways from the opening day of competition:

Masters Round 1 leaders

The game’s brightest stars shined in Round 1 here at Augusta National.

There were some seriously low numbers as things got going in the morning. The course played slightly slow, dried out as the day went, then slowed again with a few small showers during the mid-afternoon.

Viktor Hovland was the first of the three leaders out of the gate at 7-under. Hovland has always been one of the more talented players on tour, but it’s rare he’s put it together at a major. Thursday was a heck of a start.

Then there’s the pair of Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Rahm started with a double-bogey, six on the first hole. He went 9-under on his final 17 holes. To do that at a place like Augusta is absurd. Koepka, too, had himself a day, steadily plugging along to a 65. He’s been labored by injuries and confidence issues (His jump to LIV Golf notwithstanding), but he has been an absolute killer at majors as recently as 2021. His first round is a big deal.

How did everyone else fare at Augusta?

There’s some serious firepower at the top of the leaderboard after Round 1.

Cam Young and Jason Day are tied for fourth after firing five-under, 67s. Shane Lowry, Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, Adam Scott, Gary Woodland and amateur Sam Bennett (more on him later) are also all within three shots of the lead.

That’s not to mention defending champ Scottie Scheffler (4-under, 68), past winner Jordan Spieth (3-under, 69), multi-time major winner Collin Morikawa (3-under, 69) and popular value pick Tony Finau (3-under, 69) are all right there.

A few other names to mention:

— Tiger Woods struggled to an opening round 2-over, 74. If he misses the cut, it’d be the first time he’s ever done so since 1996 — he’s second ever appearance at Augusta.

— Fred Couples could take Bernhard Langer’s title of oldest player to make the cut at Augusta after firing a 1-under, 71. Couples narrowly missed the cut a year ago. That would make for a fun weekend storyline.

— Rory McIlroy *again* struggled in his first round of play at the Masters. He finished the day at even par. He’ll need to channel his back-nine play the rest of the weekend.

— Will Zalatoris and Kevin Na both withdrew from the tournament on Friday. Zalatoris withdrew before teeing off and no reason was given. Na, playing what could be his final Masters after joining the LIV Tour, played nine holes and withdrew due to illness.

How did LIV golfers do at Masters?

Koepka is keeping the LIV Golf crew relevant heading into the second day of competition, but he’s not the only one hanging around.

Phil Mickelson played a wild round on Thursday, finishing 1-under, but there’s a world he shoots closer to 65 had he not put two balls in the water on the back-nine.

Cameron Smith (-2) has played incredibly well almost every time he’s teed it up at Augusta in his career. He started hot with birdies on holes 2 and 9, but a bogey at 12 kept him from climbing higher. Still, he’s within striking-distance.

Former Masters champ Patrick Reed was also in the red after Day 1 with a 1-under, 71. Reed got to two-under on three separate occasions. Bogeys on 9, 12 and 18 cost him a lower score.

Has an amateur ever won the Masters?

Nope. Never. Not once. That’s why Bennett’s bogey-free, 4-under start on Thursday was so impressive.

The Texas A&M product has been one of the best college golfers in the country for a few years now and he’s seen as a future difference maker on the PGA Tour when the time comes to turn pro. For now, he has a seven-shot lead on te next best amateurs in Harrison Crowe and Ben Carr, who both finished Thursday 3-over.

It’s hard to imagine Bennett winning given the stacked leaderboard in front of him, but his 3-under start over his first two holes was something else. He’ll be a great story to track into the weekend barring a mess on Friday.

TV schedule this week

— Second round, Friday, April 7 ... 3-7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

— Third round, Saturday, April 8 ... 3-7:30 p.m. (CBS)

— Fourth round, Sunday, April 9 ... 3-7:30 p.m. (CBS)

Live stream online

You can stream the tournament daily at, The Masters site includes streaming views of featured groups, Amen Corner and more. The Masters will also be available for streaming on ESPN+ and Paramount Plus.

Augusta weather forecast

According to National Weather Service

— Friday: A 70% chance of rain. Thunderstorms likely after 1 p.m. Cloudy, high near 74.

— Saturday: High near 50. Chance of precipitation 100%.

— Sunday: Rain likely (60%). Best chance is before 8 a.m. High near 59.

Tee Times (Friday)

Augusta National moved tee times up 30 minutes to account for weather in the area.

— 7:30 a.m.: Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain), Cameron Champ

— 7:42 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), Taylor Moore, *Aldrich Potgieter (South Africa)

— 7:54 a.m.: J. T. Poston, Francesco Molinari (Italy), Bryson DeChambeau

— 8:06 a.m.: Bernhard Langer (Germany), Mito Pereira (Chile), *Ben Carr

— 8:18 a.m.: Danny Willett (England), Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka

— 8:30 a.m.: Sepp Straka (Austria), Harold Varner III, Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Korea)

— 8:42 a.m.: Phil Mickelson, Tom Hoge, Si Woo Kim (Korea)

— 8:54 a.m.: Billy Horschel, Harris English, Ryan Fox (New Zealand)

— 9:06 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Jason Day (Australia), *Gordon Sargent

— 9:18 a.m.: Brian Harman, Joaquin Niemann (Chile), Tyrrell Hatton (England)

— 9:30 a.m.: Dustin Johnson, Corey Conners (Canada), Justin Rose (England)

— 9:42 a.m.: Matthew Fitzpatrick (England), Collin Morikawa

— 9:54 a.m: Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, *Sam Bennett

— 10:06 a.m.: Tom Kim (Korea), Rory McIlroy (N. Ireland), Sam Burns

— 10:18 a.m.: Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood (England), Tony Finau

— 10:30 a.m.: Mike Weir (Canada)

— 10:42 a.m.: Vijay Singh (Fiji), Scott Stallings, *Matthew McClean (N. Ireland)

— 10:54 a.m.: Sandy Lyle (Scotland), Jason Kokrak, Talor Gooch

— 11:06 a.m.: Fred Couples, Russell Henley, Alex Noren (Sweden)

— 11:18 a.m.: Adrian Meronk (Poland), Kevin Kisner, Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)

— 11:30 p.m.: Larry Mize, Min Woo Lee (Australia), *Harrison Crowe (Australia)

— 11:42 a.m.: Sergio Garcia (Spain), Kazuki Higa (Japan), Keith Mitchell

— 11:54 a.m.: Patrick Reed, Adam Svensson (Canada), Sahith Theegala

— 12:06 p.m.: Shane Lowry (Ireland), Mackenzie Hughes (Canada), Thomas Pieters (Belgium)

— 12:18 p.m.: Bubba Watson, Seamus Power (Ireland), *Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (Argentina)

— 12:30 p.m.: Abraham Ancer (Mexico), Chris Kirk, Keegan Bradley

— 12:42 p.m.: Tiger Woods, Viktor Hovland (Norway), Xander Schauffele

— 12:54 p.m.: Adam Scott (Australia), Patrick Cantlay, Kurt Kitayama

— 1:06 p.m.: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm (Spain), Cameron Young

— 1:18 p.m.: Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Cameron Smith (Australia), Sungjae Im (Korea)

* Denotes amateur

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