AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on the Masters (all times local):
The early leaderboard at the Masters has a very international feel.
Si Woo Kim of Korea, Corey Conners of Canada and Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa were sharing the early lead Thursday at Augusta National, with all at 2 under in their opening rounds.
Kim and Conners were through nine holes. Bezuidenhout was through five holes. With 49 players on the course for the opening round, only 10 were under par.
Meanwhile, Viktor Hovland of Norway has bounced back nicely from early trouble. Hovland triple-bogeyed the opening hole, then birdied three of his next five holes to get back to par for the day.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson — who made a total of four bogeys on his way to the Masters title in 2020 — opened with a bogey Thursday and was even through four holes. Among those following Johnson at Augusta National: his father-in-law, Wayne Gretzky.
Viktor Hovland opened his Masters with a disaster.
Hovland, the low amateur when he last played the Masters in 2019, opened with a triple-bogey 7 on the first hole Thursday. He sent his tee shot into the trees left of the fairway, then needed two shots from there to get onto the fairway.
His fourth shot to the back pin location went off the green. He chipped on, then two-putted.
Hovland parred No. 1 his first three times playing it at the Masters, then made birdie in the final round two years ago. It was his first triple-bogey in 73 holes of competition at Augusta National.
It wasn’t the only big number early in the opening round of the Masters. Amateur Joe Long made a 7 on the par-4 fifth hole, and 1988 Masters winner Sandy Lyle had a quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 fourth hole.
That matched the second-highest score in Masters history at No. 4. Henrik Stenson made a quintuple-bogey 8 there in 2011.
The first group has reached the turn at the Masters, and scoring is about what was expected. Hudson Swafford was at 2 under through nine holes, picking up birdies on the par-5 second and par-3 fourth holes without a bogey on his card.
With 29 players now on the course at firm, fast Augusta National, no one has reached lower than 2 under and five players were under par.
The forecast called for scattered showers, though any rain chances on a course that has been dry for a week were most likely after the first round was ending.
Sandy Lyle’s round fell apart with a quadruple-bogey 7 on the fourth hole. The 63-year-old Scot won the Masters in 1988. From the front bunker, he sent it well over the green, took two more shots to get back to the front of the green and took three putts to get down from there.
The 85th Masters has started with two honorary tee shots and one former player who only had to raise his driver to make it memorable.
Lee Elder was invited to take part in the ceremonial start. The 86-year-old Elder was the first Black golfer to compete in the Masters in 1975. Augusta National announced in November he would be joining six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus and three-time champion Gary Player.
Elder’s health wouldn’t allow him to take a swing. Instead, he raised his driver on a cool morning that was warmed by enormous applause from spectators that lined both sides of the tee box.
Masters Chairman Fred Ridley said Elder’s has blazed a trail that inspired golf and future generations with a message that golf belongs to everyone.
Among those on the tee were Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson wearing green jackets as past champions, and Cameron Champ, one of four players of Black heritage on the PGA Tour.
The tournament began a short time later. Defending champion Dustin Johnson tees off at 10:30 a.m., while Jordan Spieth is in the last group.