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Masters 2017: Charley Hoffman leads after first round; Dustin Johnson withdraws

08 April 2017

"I struck the shot well, I just hit the wrong club".

Dustin Johnson of the U.S. talks to members of the media after he pulled out of the tournament due to injury during first round play at the 2017 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta April 6, 2017.

Injured world number one Dustin Johnson was forced to withdrew from the Masters yesterday while another favourite, Jordon Spieth, suffered a repeat quadruple-bogey disaster. Watson's group included Jimmy Walker and top-ranked Dustin Johnson.

Charley Hoffman leads the field at 7-under 65.

A huge field of players finished one under par, including Brits Justin Rose, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick as well as American golfers Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Russell Henley and Kevin Chappell.

Fellow US golfer William McGirt sits second overall on 3-under after carding four birdies on his opening round.

"If it happened on Monday, I don't think we would have any issues", he said. Not the least of which was the fact that Charley Hoffman shot 7-under-par 65, beating the average score by 10 strokes. 10 and 11, ran off three birdies in the middle of the back nine, and closed with another good par save for a 72. Johnson withdrew before the round got underway Thursday afternoon.

Johnson was still trying to digest the last 24 hours, as shocking as any for a No. 1 player going into a major. Then again, he pointed to a poor British Open record, adding, "I've also played disgusting in the wind".

Amateur world No.1 Curtis Luck made a disappointing Masters debut, with the soon-to-be-Perth professional signing for a 78.

"I mean, anything around par would have obviously been a great score", he said.

Johnson, who has won his past three starts, was the favorite to win his first Masters.

Worse yet, he expects his back to feel good enough to play by the weekend.

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So, what did Rahm learn from his first go at Augusta National with just three practice rounds under his belt? "Like I did on 12", Pieters said. "To have a freak accident happen ... it's tough". He said he felt he played better than he scored and seemed to get a real kick out of the course and its unique challenges.

"It's not easy to make putts", Rahm said.

Defending champion Danny Willett got off to a rough start and was 3 over through two holes.

SPIETH'S BIG NUMBER: For a second straight year, Jordan Spieth put up a insane number at Augusta. He ended up one shot shy of Craig Wood's 1941 record for the largest first-round lead.

The misfortune began when his tee shot did not go in the bunker right of the fairway.

But then there was a duffed chip and three awful putts that sent Spieth tumbling from the top of the leaderboard, again. "It's just one of those things; I'm going to try to soak it all in and enjoy it and relish every moment here at Augusta National".

The American, twice a Masters runner-up, had been five shots ahead on the final day a year ago before he imploded after taking seven shots on the par-3 12th.

Australian chances at Augusta were set back heavily on a day when only 11 players broke par. Hoffman responded with eight birdies in his final 13 holes.

The most memorable shot - take your pick, there were plenty of them - was by a 40-year-old journeyman from San Diego who seemed to be playing a different game on a different course.

Garcia closed strong, birdieing 17 and sticking his approach at 18 to within a few feet before missing the birdie putt.

"I step on this property and it just feels special", Hoffman said.

Masters 2017: Charley Hoffman leads after first round; Dustin Johnson withdraws