The Masters: Justin Rose opens up four-shot advantage as Bryson DeChambeau struggles at Augusta
Justin Rose played his last 11 holes in nine under to build a commanding advantage at Augusta National; Defending champion Dustin Johnson begins Green Jacket defence with a two-over 74 - watch live all week on Sky Sports The Masters
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 09/04/21 6:18pm
Justin Rose delivered a remarkable burst of scoring to recover from a slow start and open up a four-shot lead after the opening round of the 85th Masters.
Rose, a two-time runner-up at The Masters, bounced back from being two over par after seven holes to fire an eagle and seven birdies in challenging conditions and card a seven-under 65 at Augusta National.
The former US Open champion's commanding advantage equals the second-highest first-round lead in Masters history and came on a Thursday where only 12 of the 88-man field were able to break par, with Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy among the high-profile names to struggle on the opening day.
Rory McIlroy endured another torrid day at Augusta National and even hit his own dad on the leg with a stray shot at the seventh, one of many mistakes from the former world No 1 in the first round! 😳— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) April 8, 2021
Watch live on Sky Sports #TheMasters now! pic.twitter.com/6KH5thfmDF
Rose, making his first appearance since withdrawing mid-round at last month's Arnold Palmer Invitational with a back injury, dropped a shot on his opening hole and lost further ground with a three-putt bogey from 50 feet at the seventh.
The Englishman responded by making a 10-foot eagle at the eighth after taking a fortunate bounce with his approach into the par-five, with Rose then producing an impressive iron shot to set up a close-range birdie at the next and reach the turn in 35.
Rose started his back nine with a 25-foot birdie at the 10th and picked up another shot at the par-three 12th, moving him alongside morning clubhouse leaders Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama, before grabbing the outright lead by laying up and nudging in from three feet at the par-five 13th.
The world No 41 got up and down from a greenside bunker to birdie the par-five 15th and nailed a 15-footer at the par-three next to extend his advantage, before firing his approach at the 17th to tap-in range for another birdie and then signing off his stunning round with a two-putt par.
Matsuyama and Harman were the only other players to break 70, both carding opening-round 69s in the morning wave, while 2018 champion Patrick Reed is part of a four-way tie for fourth and in the group on two under that includes former US Open champion Webb Simpson.
Jordan Spieth, chasing a second win in as many weeks after returning to the winner's circle at the Valero Texas Open on Sunday, chipped in for eagle at the par-five 15th and went bogey-free on his back nine to post a one-under 71, with Open champion Shane Lowry and England's Tyrrell Hatton among the other players under par.
- Elder makes more Masters history
- When is The Masters on Sky Sports?
- Masters Mishaps: First round fails!
Jon Rahm, a late arrival on Wednesday after becoming a father over the weekend, dropped a shot at the last to card a level-par 72, while Justin Thomas started with a one-over 73 and Tommy Fleetwood is part of the group on two over after making a hole-in-one at the par-three 16th.
World No 1 Johnson - who registered a record-breaking five-shot victory in November's Masters - double-bogeyed his final hole to stutter to an opening 74, with four-time major champion Brooks Koepka also nine off the pace in his first appearance since undergoing knee surgery.
McIlroy faces a battle just to make the cut in his latest attempt to complete golf's career Grand Slam, with the Northern Irishman hitting his father with a wayward approach into the seventh for one of three consecutive bogeys on his front nine.
The former world No 1 hit approaches into the water at both the 11th and 13th on his way to eventually signing for a 76, while DeChambeau is also on four over after making an erratic start to his bid for a second major title.
Watch The Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports' dedicated Masters channel. Live coverage continues on Friday with Featured Groups from 2pm on Sky Sports The Masters. Click here to upgrade to Sky Sports for just £10 a month.