April 08, 2021 – 01:08 pm
France Press agency
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama clinched an eagle in the eighth hole to share the lead in the first round of the Augusta Masters on Thursday, with most of the candidates starting to struggle.
Matsuyama, chasing his first Grand Slam title, made a 20-foot-long shot for a bird into the second hole and hit a 7-meter eagle in eighth.
The Japanese, 25 in the PGA rankings, kept a three below par after the first 11 holes.
South African Christian Buesenhout, 35 of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), and South Korean Kim Si Woo (51) accompanied him in the head at the start of the 85th Masters Tournament.
Bezuidenhout was hunting the second, third, and eighth holes, while Kim had five birds and two ghosts.
American Will Zalatores, one of the six players to debut in the Masters tournament, eagle in Holes 13 and 15 to tie the leaders briefly, before a ghost at the age of 16 puts him one shot away.
American Webb Simpson, 2012 US Open champion, and Australian Mark Leichman were one punch away.
On the strong and fast Augusta National Company, mistakes in the Greens led to heavy penalties on Thursday.
Sixth seeded American Xander Schauffele said, “Some of the world class players would look stupid here if the field remained steady and fast.”
Spaniard John Ram, the third, bouncing the second hole to rank among the few sub-standard golfers early in the tournament.
American Dustin Johnson, trying to become the fourth player to win consecutive Masters titles, began with a ghost but quickly responded with a bird in the second hole.
The world number one set a record last November in Augusta National with 268 strokes, 20 below par, on a softer track due to rainy conditions.
At the age of thirty-six, Johnson tries to match the legendary Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only winners in a row in the Masters Tournament.
Woods, the last to reach the feat in 2001 and 2002, is sorely absent from the tournament due to the severe injuries he sustained in a car accident in February.
For his part, former world number one Rory McIlroy, who dreams of winning on Sunday to complete his victories in all Grand Slams, stumbled upon three ghosts in a row from the fifth hole.