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The Masters: Jon Rahm shares early lead despite nightmare four-putt start at Augusta National

Jon Rahm carded an opening-round 65 despite a four-putt double bogey on his opening hole; Spaniard shares early lead with Viktor Hovland and Brooks Koepka; Watch the second round exclusively live on Friday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf

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Jon Rahm rallied after a double-bogey start at Augusta to shoot a stunning seven-under-par 65 to take the clubhouse lead after the first round of the 2023 Masters

Jon Rahm was left proud of his fightback at The Masters after taking inspiration from Seve Ballesteros to battle back from a nightmare start to share the clubhouse leader at Augusta National.

The world No 3 recovered from making a four-putt double-bogey on his opening hole to post an eagle and seven birdies in a seven-under 65, seeing him share the clubhouse lead with Viktor Hovland and Brooks Koepka.

Rahm posted back-to-back birdies from the second and made a close-range eagle after a stunning approach into the par-three eighth, before four birdies in his last six holes saw him equal the lowest round of his Masters career.

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Jon Rahm claims he took advantage of a lack of wind at Augusta National to shoot a stunning 65 after four putting the first green in his first round at the 2023 Masters

"If you're going to make a double bogey it might as well be on the first hole, so you have 71 to recover," Rahm joked. "Walking to the second tee I remembered Seve's quote when he was asked how can you four-putt when you're so good and he said 'I miss, I miss, I miss, I make'.

"I'm mostly super happy with what I've done today, right. I didn't expect to hit a great three wood, a good second shot and four-putt the first hole, but to overcome that and shoot nine under on the next 17 holes was something to be proud of. Hopefully, I can just keep it going."

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Jon Rahm needed four-putts at the first hole as he registered a double bogey.

Hovland enjoys major scrambling success

Hovland rolled in a 25-foot eagle putt on the second hole and added three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the sixth, with further birdies at the 11th and 13th putting the course record of 63 under threat.

The Norwegian then finished with five pars to close a bogey-free 65, with Hovland getting up and down from off the green five times out of five to help him post the first sub-70 score of his Augusta career and share the clubhouse lead.

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Viktor Hovland got an eagle at the second as he made a great start in round one of The Masters

"I don't care how good you hit it out here, you have to chip the ball," Hovland said. "You have to have a short game, especially on that back nine when I hit a lot of bad shots. To be honest, I managed to keep myself in it by hitting some really nice chips and making some really nice putts.

"Obviously the greens are receptive, but this place is always - if you get a little too cocky and you want to push a few spots that you probably shouldn't, it will punish you very quickly.

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Viktor Hovland, who played alongside Tiger Woods, was in great spirits after taking the clubhouse lead with a round of seven-under-par

"You know a good score is out there, but you can't really force it. You've just got to let it happen, and if you have some makeable putts, you've got to make them and then you can get into a rhythm.

"If you start with a really low round and it gets very difficult, it's kind of easier to protect the score a little bit compared to if you're five, six, seven shots back. It's really difficult to make up that much ground if this place is playing very difficult, so obviously getting off to a nice start is key this week."

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Lowry pleased with fast start at Augusta

Former Open champion Shane Lowry squandered a missed chance from three feet at the first but bounced back to post an opening-round 68, mixing five birdies with a lone bogey to sit within three of the leaders.

"You're never comfortable on this place," Lowry said. "Even though I was playing good golf, especially when you go on to the back nine most holes are chances to make birdie and (also) chances to trip you up.

Shane Lowry, of Ireland, chips to the green on the second hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Image: Shane Lowry finished third behind Scottie Scheffler in last year's contest

"You just have to stay patient and stay on your game and in your routine and that's what I did. I missed that really short putt on the first, which was a bit of a shock to the system. But I got back on it straight away.

"I think it was important to shoot a good score. I was trying not to put too much pressure on myself to do so, but I knew going into today how important today's round is because who knows what the next three days are going to hold."

Watch The Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf! Live coverage continues on Friday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf, with a host of extra feeds available via the red button. The Amen Corner stream is also live - for free - on the Sky Sports Golf YouTube channel and Sky Sports website!

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