Augusta - Top-ranked
Justin Rose and in-form Paul Casey endured nightmare starts on Thursday at
the Masters while Ian Poulter, who last won a year ago, championed
England's cause at Augusta National.
Rose, in his first round since retaking the world No 1 spot
from American Dustin Johnson on Monday, stumbled to a three-over par 75,
his second-worst start in 14 Masters appearance.
"Drove it left the first few holes, hit a couple good putts early
that didn't fall, and, yeah, from that point there's nothing really felt
easy, I suppose," Rose said.
"Never really found my rhythm."
And Casey, who defended his PGA Valspar Championship crown last
month, stood next to last in the field of 87 on 81, with double bogeys
at the fifth and 18th holes in a horror show, his worst of 43 career
Poulter birdied three of the last six holes to fire a four-under par
68 and share fourth with second-ranked Johnson after 18 holes at the
year's first major event.
"My whole game was together, from the first hole to the 18th hole,"
"I'm very happy with today's work. It's a great start to a
The 43-year-old Englishman, whose last win came last April in
Houston, birdied the par-5 13th and 15th holes and the par-3 16th to
finish two strokes adrift of US co-leaders Brooks Koepka and Bryson
"Just played really steady golf," Poulter said.
"Really my putting
all around was extremely solid. I need to do that over the next few
European Ryder Cup hero Poulter, ranked 32nd, made his best Masters showing in 2015 with a share of sixth.
While Casey appears certain to make an early exit, Rose says he still
has a chance to play his way back into contention from nine adrift.
"You want to make the cut, obviously, so get off to a good start. If I
can get it back into the red for the tournament tomorrow then you can
build a weekend," Rose said.
"I feel I can still get to 11 or 12 under and you never know. I think
this golf course offers a Sunday charge and there's a 64 out there, if
you can hit the right shots at the right time.
"So I've just got to give myself the opportunity if I do play a dream round, I'm close enough."
Thursday's opening round of the 83rd Masters tournament at par-72 Augusta
National Golf Club:
66 - Bryson DeChambeau (USA), Brooks Koepka (USA)
67 - Phil Mickelson (USA)
68 - Ian Poulter (ENG), Dustin Johnson (USA)
69 - Justin Harding
(RSA), Adam Scott (AUS), Jon Rahm (ESP), Kevin Kisner (USA),
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA)
70 - Corey Conners (CAN), J.B. Holmes (USA), Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN), Gary
Woodland (USA), Tiger Woods (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA), Cameron Smith (AUS),
Patton Kizzire (USA), Francesco Molinari (ITA), Jason Day (AUS)
71 - Tony Finau (USA), Charley Hoffman (USA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA),
Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Kevin Na (USA), Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Bernhard Langer
(GER), Matt Kuchar (USA)
72 - Andrew Landry (USA), Keith Mitchell (USA), Kevin Tway (USA), Mike Weir
(CAN), Kim Si-woo (KOR), Branden Grace (RSA), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Kyle
Stanley (USA), Webb Simpson (USA), Viktor Hovland (NOR), Marc Leishman (AUS),
Li Haotong (CHN), Jimmy Walker (USA), Billy Horschel (USA), Bubba Watson (USA)
73 - Takumi Kanaya (JPN), Charles Howell (USA), Sergio Garcia (ESP), Patrick
Reed (USA), Xander Schauffele (USA), Rory McIlroy (NIR), Sandy Lyle (SCO),
Martin Kaymer (GER), Alvaro Ortiz (MEX), Jovan
Rebula (RSA), Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP), Tyrrell Hatton (ENG),
Patrick Cantlay (USA), Justin Thomas (USA)
74 - Eddie Pepperell (ENG), Henrik Stenson (SWE), Trevor Immelman (RSA),
Devon Bling (USA), Zach Johnson (USA)
75 - Adam Long (USA), Aaron Wise (USA), Danny Willett (ENG), Brandt Snedeker
(USA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Matt Wallace (ENG), Alex Noren (SWE), Satoshi
Kodaira (JPN), Justin Rose (ENG), Jordan Spieth (USA)
76 - Michael Kim (USA), Stewart Cink (USA), Keegan Bradley (USA), Shugo
77 - Kevin O'Connell (USA), Charl
Schwartzel (RSA), Larry Mize (USA)
78 - Shane Lowry (IRL), Fred Couples (USA), Jose Maria Olazabal (ESP),
Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG)
80 - Ian Woosnam (WAL), Vijay Singh (FIJ)
81 - Paul Casey (ENG)
82 - Angel Cabrera (ARG)