Justin time for Rose

65 score provides four shot lead

The Masters 2021 R1
April 08-11
Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
Round 2, Round 3, Round 4

The Masters 2021 R1 - Justin time for Rose
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

The Masters 2021 R1

When assessing the career of Justin Rose, one must pay special attention to two noteworthy achievements — winning the Gold Medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and three years earlier claiming his only major championship to date — the U.S. Open at Merion. For many golfers such wins would be impressive but given the level of talent Rose has demonstrated on the world golf stage since his rousing hole-out at the final hole as a 17-year-old amateur at the 1999 Open Championship there’s more work to be done.


The Masters 2021 R1

Now at age 40 — the Englishman is keenly aware the major championship spigot can easily go from a free flow to bone dry in no time at all. Rose is also aware that having only one major championship title to his name is clearly less than what his considerable talents should have produced by this point in his career.

During Thursday’s opening round for the 85th Masters, he started in a rear-view direction– two-over-par following the 7th hole. However, after a brilliant second shot at the par-5 8th, Rose holed the putt for an eagle. This jumpstarted the round and birdies followed at the 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th holes. A key to the round came with a lengthy par putt made at the 14th and Justin kept the momentum going with birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes before finishing with a closing par at the 18th. In sum, Rose played the final 11 holes in 9-under for a superb 65 and the opening round lead by four shots over Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and the USA’s Brian Harman.


The Masters 2021 R1

Having the opening round lead at Augusta is not new territory for Rose — it’s his 3rd time tying him with Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth and Lloyd Mangrum for most all-time. The key thing is that Nicklaus and Spieth would go on to win a Masters title in their careers. That’s something Rose wants to match. However, in the three instances in which Rose had at least a share of the first-round lead, in 2004, 2007 and 2008, he followed-up going backwards scoring a combined 25-over-par in the final three rounds.

Justin’s best finishes at Augusta include two runner-up positions – including a playoff loss to Sergio Garcia in 2017. The four-shot opening round lead ties the greatest margin set by Jackie Burke in the 1955 Masters.


The Masters 2021 R1

For the last few years Rose has been hampered by back issues which have flared up and had him pull out of events. In addition, he went through an equipment switch which did not pan out as well and has since been righted.

Justin has not won on the PGA Tour in over two years, and his play this year has produced just one top-30 finish in five worldwide starts. Going into this week’s Masters his winning odds were posted at a 100-to-1 — his longest odds since the 2011 PGA Championship.


The Masters 2021 R1

Rose is the 11th player in the past 50 Masters tournaments to hold a multi-stroke lead after the first round. Only one of them — Jordan Spieth in 2015 — was able to snare the green jacket. Rose was one of those players — leading by two strokes after the first round in 2004 — finishing in a tie for 22nd.

The scuttlebutt among media cognoscenti was English golf is now the domain of such emerging talents as Tyrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Matt Wallace.

With 54 holes left to play — this may be the best — and last — great opportunity for Justin to silence all and demonstrate the bloom is far from off this Rose.


The Masters 2021 R1

Masters Notes:

  • The top ten players in the world rankings encountered heavy resistance from an Augusta National Golf club that was anything but user-friendly. World number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson finished with a two-over-par 74 and his round concluded with a double-bogey 6 at the 18th. Only three of the top ten ranked players shot even par or better — leading the way are Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson at 70; Tyrell Hatton fired a one-under-par 71 and Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele are at even par. Notables such as Brooks Koepka finished with a 74 and Rory McIlroy limped home with a 76.


The Masters 2021 R1

  • How tough was Augusta National for Thursday’s opening round? The scoring average over the 1st round from the November scheduled Masters in 2020 was 71.40. This year’s average jumped over three shots higher at 74.52. Firm turf conditions in concert with varying wind velocities were vexing for many players. The weather pattern is expected to be uneven the next two days – with possible thunderstorms threatening play most especially Saturday.
  • Only three amateurs are playing in this year’s event. The low score Thursday came from the 2020 U.S. Amateur runner-up Charles Osborne at 76.
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  • The toughest hole through round one was the 11th hole – playing to a 4.51 stroke average. The stingiest hole in terms of birdies made was the 1st — only one was made.
  • Patrons were permitted to attend the event unlike the November 2020 event. Augusta National does not release exact figures but the ballpark estimate was that the overall size was capped at roughly 20-25%.
  • Lee Elder joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters for this year’s Masters. Elder was the first Black golfer to be invited to the event in 1975. Elder was unable to hit a ceremonial drive at the 1st because of ongoing health issues and used his driver as a cane to stand while acknowledging the applause from those gathered around the 1st tee.


The Masters 2021 R1

  • Sad to say the opening ceremonies were marred when Gary Player’s son — Wayne – who served as an honorary caddie for his father worked his way into a background camera angle and could easily be seen holding a black sleeve of Encore golf balls. Gary Player endorses the golf balls and is an investor with the company. Encore replied through a written statement from CEO Keith Blakely — “We did not ask or instruct Mr. Player to have our ball sleeve visible during the ceremony and are sorry if his actions caused any offense or was a distraction from the wonderful recognition being paid to Mr. Elder.”

The Masters 2021 R1

Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
1
Justin Rose
-7
65
T2
Brian Harman
-3
69
T2
Hideki Matsuyama
-3
69
T4
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
-2
70
T4
Patrick Reed
-2
70
T4
Webb Simpson
-2
70
T4
Will Zalatoris
-2
70
T8
Tyrrell Hatton
-1
71
T8
Si Woo Kim
-1
71
T8
Jason Kokrak
-1
71
T8
Shane Lowry
-1
71
T8
Jordan Spieth
-1
71
T13
Cameron Champ
E
72
T13
Mackenzie Hughes
E
72
T13
Kevin Kisner
E
72
T13
Marc Leishman
E
72
T13
Jon Rahm
E
72
T13
Xander Schauffele
E
72
T13
Michael Thompson
E
72
T20
Paul Casey
1
73
T20
Corey Conners
1
73
T20
Viktor Hovland
1
73
T20
Collin Morikawa
1
73
T20
Scottie Scheffler
1
73
T20
Henrik Stenson
1
73
T20
Hudson Swafford
1
73
T20
Justin Thomas
1
73
T20
Brendon Todd
1
73
T20
Gary Woodland
1
73
T30
Stewart Cink
2
74
T30
Harris English
2
74
T30
Tony Finau
2
74
T30
Matt Fitzpatrick
2
74
T30
Tommy Fleetwood
2
74
T30
Max Homa
2
74
T30
Dustin Johnson
2
74
T30
Matt Jones
2
74
T30
Brooks Koepka
2
74
T30
Martin Laird
2
74
T30
Bernhard Langer
2
74
T30
Robert MacIntyre
2
74
T30
Francesco Molinari
2
74
T30
Sebastián Muñoz
2
74
T30
Ryan Palmer
2
74
T30
Ian Poulter
2
74
T30
Charl Schwartzel
2
74
T30
Adam Scott
2
74
T30
Cameron Smith
2
74
T30
Matt Wallace
2
74
T30
Bubba Watson
2
74
T30
Bernd Wiesberger
2
74
T52
Abraham Ancer
3
75
T52
Daniel Berger
3
75
T52
Phil Mickelson
3
75
T52
Kevin Na
3
75
T52
Joaquin Niemann
3
75
T52
José María Olazábal
3
75
T52
Robert Streb
3
75
T52
Jimmy Walker
3
75
T60
Bryson DeChambeau
4
76
T60
Dylan Frittelli
4
76
T60
Sergio Garcia
4
76
T60
Lanto Griffin
4
76
T60
Jim Herman
4
76
T60
Billy Horschel
4
76
T60
Rory McIlroy
4
76
T60
Louis Oosthuizen
4
76
T60
Charles Osborne (a)
4
76
T60
Danny Willett
4
76
T60
Matthew Wolff
4
76
T60
Ian Woosnam
4
76
T72
Jason Day
5
77
T72
Sungjae Im
5
77
T72
Zach Johnson
5
77
T75
Brian Gay
6
78
T75
Matt Kuchar
6
78
T75
Victor Perez
6
78
T75
Mike Weir
6
78
T75
Lee Westwood
6
78
T80
Patrick Cantlay
7
79
T80
Fred Couples
7
79
T80
Cheng Tsung Pan
7
79
T80
Vijay Singh
7
79
84
Tyler Strafaci (a)
8
80
85
Sandy Lyle
9
81
T86
Joe Long (a)
10
82
T86
Carlos Ortiz
10
82
88
Larry Mize
12
84
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