2019 Masters First Round Highlights

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The 83rd playing of the Masters Tournament has officially put to bed its opening round. As is often the case at Augusta National day one saw a mix of big names and underdogs battling a top the leaderboard. Unfortunately for some of the favorites to take home this year’s green jacket Thursday didn’t go quite as planned.

Entering the week as the odds on pick to win it all, Rory McIlroy’s quest to complete the career Grand Slam of golf got a little harder after a 1-over first round of 73. Another popular pick to struggle in his first 18 was 2015 Masters winner Jordan Spieth who had to fight to finish at 3-over for the day. It wasn’t all disappointment though as fan favorites including Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and even Tiger Woods all find themselves toward the top of the pack.

Whether they were up or down on Thursday the field of 87 turned in a number of early Masters memories. Hole outs, low scores and more all lead to an exciting opening round in what may be the best conditions these challengers will face all week. Last Word on Golf has all your top highlights from Thursday at the 2019 Masters.

Honorary Starters tee things off

In a true tradition unlike any other two legends of golf, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, hit the honorary tee shots Thursday morning to signify the start of the 83rd Masters.

Koepka comes alive, DeChambeau closes clutch

Reigning back to back U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka made a dominant return to Augusta National Thursday. After a 1-under front nine he fired off a 5-under back nine to finish with a bogey-free 6-under round of 66 for a share of the lead.

Bryson DeChambeau was dialed in, namely on the closing three holes, as he nearly aced the par-3 16th, chipped in for birdie on 17 (more on those later) and nearly eagle’d his approach on 18 giving him a share of the lead heading into Friday.

Two near Aces

At the 172-yard par-3 16th Bryson DeChambeau got to within one of the lead when he nearly hit the first hole in one of the 2019 Masters Tournament. DeChambeau would tap in for birdie to move to 4-under.

Just moments later Phil Mickelson stepped up to do the same at 16. As “Lefty’s” tee shot hit the middle of the green and took the break his ball trickled toward the hole before stopping just short.

Soaring around Augusta

DeChambeau wasn’t done with his near ace at 16 as he moved to within one shot of the lead following a chip in for birdie at 17.

Late in his round Patton Kizzire took a share of the lead before a bogey at 18 dropped him to 2-under for his opening round. Kizzire’s sensational short game play, including this eagle at the par-5 2nd hole, propelled him into early contention Thursday.

Henrik Stenson rode a roller coaster opening round but had some momentum early with a chip in from just off the green on his third hole of the day.

After a less than favorable tee shot at the par-3 4th hole, Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo holed out from the greenside bunker for birdie.

Putting toward a Green Jacket

Coming off a birdie at 13 the four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods heard the roar of the crowd once again after a 25-foot putt for back to back birdies and a momentary share of the lead. Woods finished 2-under par and sits four strokes off the lead.

An up and down round left Rory McIlroy four strokes off the lead heading into Friday but key putts like the 35-foot birdie putt at 16 helped keep the North Ireland native in contention.

Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson knows what it takes to stay in contention at Augusta. Rounding out Amen Corner “Lefty” dialed in his putt at the par-3 12th to get to 1-under par.

Following a steady start to his eighth Masters appearance reigning Open Champion and 2018 PGA Tour standout Francesco Molinari drained a long birdie on 18 to finish 2-under par.

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