Swafford into the outright lead
For what it’s worth at this stage, which is not much. He’s -2 after four after birdieing the par three fourth. Stuck it dead to about seven feet and drained the putt. Still, would rather be -2 than +2, that is for sure.
Lyle birdies the par five second after a delightful third
From the middle of the fairway, feeds it into the green with a 3/4 swing, a bit of check as it approaches the hole and ends just three feet from the cup. Sinks the putt and goes to -1 for the day. Lovely stuff.
Frittelli makes his second bogey of the day in just two holes to go to +2.
Woosnam finds the rough on the second with his drive
277 yards down the right, 323 to the pin. Next shot should just be about getting it onto the fairway as close as possible, but even a 210-yarder out of the rough means it’s 120 to the pin and that is no guarantee of a birdie. Far from it.
Though having seen the replay it’s only just in the light cut of rough so he should be able to give it a fair old whack towards the green. He does exactly that, 208 yards, on the fairway leaving 117 for his third.
Stewart Cink and Jim Herman, in Woosnam’s group, both make pars on the first
Swafford makes a par on the third after his approach slid off the back of the green. He stays -1 after three to keep hold of this very, very early lead. A decent putt from off the green left him just a tiddler for par.
What can Woosie do with his second on the first hole?
Not a lot, really. Short and right of the green, with 33 yards to the pin still. Not an awful shot but it will be a tough shot into the green from there, though he does have a lot of it to work with.
He does not get up and down from there, either, so starts with a bogey.
Hole locations (pin positions?) for round one
Ian Woosnam opens with a decent drive on hole one
255 yards down the left of the fairway, 188 to go, opening up the green. On the second, Swafford put his pitch to within 10ft for three and sunk his birdie put for four. Playing partner Thompson also made a birdie to go back to level par after two.
Lyle begins with a par
As does playing partner Jones. Frittelli just missed his par putt from 15ft so records an opening bogey.
Hole 2: Swafford has a big swing off the tee
Flies right past the bunker, through someone’s legs and onto the pine needs on the right. 329 yards. His approach to the575-yard par five second ends up just short of the green. Thompson is short of the green in two as well but doesn’t quite make the greenside bunker on the right.
Sandy Lyle on the tee
33 years on from his Masters triumph. He misses the fairway but is just short of the bunker, with 175 to the pin. Also in his threeball are Jones and Frittelli, who have driven to differing sides of the fairway.
Frittelli’s approach from the right ends short of the green, leaving him and up-and-down to make par. Jones plays to the centre of the green, leaving a 15ft putt for birdie. Lyle makes the green in two, too, but has a 30ft putt for his three.
Swafford leaves his putt for birdie five feet short
But finishes off for an opening par. Thompson pitches onto the green to about eight or nine feet but misses his par put and has to settle for a bogey.
Michael Thompson and Hudson Swafford in the first group
Swafford hits his drive 302 yards on the left of the fairway, just in the first cut of rough. Thompson’s ends up with 150 or so to the pin but on the other side of the fairway – or is it in the bunker? Yes, it is.
He plays out from there right and back of the green with 22 yards left to the pin. Could struggle to make par.
Swafford, on the left, fires his approach shot across the greenside bunker and to the middle of the green, 30ft away from the hole.
Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus get the Masters officially under way
Augusta set to bite back at the big hitters
Good afternoon, and welcome to our coverage of the first day’s play from the 2021 Masters at Augusta National, Georgia. If it seems like the last tournament here was only a few months ago, then that is because it was – it was postponed and eventually took place in November, with Dustin Johnson the eventual winner. He is again favourite to take the Green Jacket, but if he does not, then on whose shoulders might he be placing it on Sunday evening?
Alongside him are a host of the usual suspects: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and, of course, the big hitting Bryson DeChambeau.
Our Golf Correspondent, James Corrigan, says that whoever triumphs this week will have conquered the “genuine Augusta”, different to the conditions that the field faced in mid-November, 2020.
As the governing bodies prepare to rein in the boom squad — the likes of Bryson DeChambeau who, with their 350-yard plus carries, are threatening to reduce Amen Corner to a few “Hail Marys” — Mother Nature has stepped up to the plate to ensure it will rather more intriguing than the drive, wedge and putt that typified Johnson’s glory in November.
No disrespect to the world No 1 — and it is eminently possible that he becomes just the fourth in history after Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Sir Nick Faldo to defend their Masters title successfully — but whoever prevails on Sunday will have conquered the genuine Augusta.
“The fact that Dustin was 20-under was a combination of his extraordinary play and that at the same time, admittedly, the golf course was soft,” Fred Ridley, the Augusta chairman said. “But that really had nothing to do with the way the course is playing right now. We have had ideal weather and this is the first year probably going back to 2013, when we actually came into the week with the course playing firm and fast, as it is right now. We have it right where we want it.”
Play is about to get under way and we will have rolling updates throughout the first day’s action and, of course, the following three. One of sport’s greatest competitions is back where it belongs.