Charley Hoffman Leads Masters After First Round Thanks to Phenomenal Back Nine

(Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)

Charley Hoffman Leads Masters After First Round Thanks to Phenomenal Back Nine

Golf

Charley Hoffman Leads Masters After First Round Thanks to Phenomenal Back Nine

The first round of The Masters is in the books and the leaderboard doesn’t look anything like what anyone may have expected. Favorite Dustin Johnson withdrew prior to teeing off after he suffered a freak back injury on Wednesday.

The wind, which was gusting up to 40 mph, caused problems all day but didn’t seem to affect 40-year-old Charley Hoffman, who managed to birdie eight of the final 13 holes and card a spectacular 31 on the back nine at Augusta. Hoffman, who is currently seven-under (65), holds a four-stroke lead over Will McGirt at three-under. Lee Westwood is in third at two-under. He is in the top 10 for the 17th time since 2010.

Hoffman has made the cut in his three Masters appearances and his four-stroke lead matched the largest after the first round ever. The mark was set by Jack Burke Jr. in 1955.

The biggest issue facing Hoffman will be that only two first-round leaders have gone on to win the Masters since 1985. Trevor Immelman did so in 2008 and Jordan Spieth accomplished the feat in 2015.

Jordan Spieth opened with a 75 that included a quadruple bogey on the 15th hole, his second quadruple bogey in his last 21 holes at Augusta. Per Golf Channel’s Justin Ray, no player has ever made worse than a seven on any hole and won the Masters that week.

Rory McIlroy finished at even par thanks to three birdies on the back nine. Rickie Fowler shot 73. Jason Day shot 74. Hideki Matsuyama finished at a very disappointing four-over and the list of big names over par includes Patrick Reed +4, Justin Thomas +1, Jon Rahm +1, Henrik Stenson +5, Bubba Watson +2, and Jimmy Walker +4.

Phil Mickelson is currently one-under along with Justin Rose.

The only golfer to have no bogies on his card was Sergio Garcia, who is still in search of his first major championship.

It is only Thursday, and with three more rounds to play, anything could happen.

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