Tag Archives: Augusta

Hideki Matsuyama wins The Masters for first major title at Augusta to create history

That 75 minute break proved to be exactly what Matsuyama needed though as he returned to the course a new man.

He played the final eight holes in six-under par, turning in the first bogey-free round of anyone in the tournament to put him on 11-under for the tournament.

Matsuyama entered the final round four shots clear but the job was certainly not done by any means.

Charl Schwartzel proved in 2011 that four shots was more than attainable to claw back on Sunday at The Masters while Fuzzy Zoeller, Nick Faldo and Gary Player have come back from even bigger deficits to pull on the green jacket.

And there were clearly some nerves on the first tee for Matsuyama as he registered a bogey to start the day.

In typical championship-pedigree though, Matsuyama bounced straight back with a birdie at the second before closing out the front nine with back-to-back birdies.

Masters cut line: Rory McIlroy misses cut – Full list of players removed from Augusta

Rory McIlroy was unable to find his rhythm to make it through to the weekend at The Masters as he missed the cut for the first time since 2010 while defending champion Dustin Johnson also came up short. Justin Rose was the pace setter in the opening round on Thursday but there was more attention towards the bottom of the leaderboard on Friday as a number of top players battled to avoid the cut.
It was originally though that something around five-over par would be enough to get through to the weekend.

But it soon became clear that there were birdies to be had on some enticing pin positions with a host of players enjoying strong rounds.

Bernd Wiesberger set the early pace with an outstanding round of 66 to move him up to four-under par for the tournament.

Tony Finau also finished with a six-under par round on Friday while the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Marc Leishman climbed up the leaderboard.

JUST IN: Rory McIlroy’s Masters bid over after hitting dad in nightmare round

But there were some rounds to forget further down as it became clear that the cut line would be up at three-over par.

Hudson Swafford finished 11-over par on Friday while Brooks Koepka was unable to improve on his opening round as he finished five-over par.

All eyes were on McIlroy though to see whether he was going to be able to improve on his four-over par round on Thursday.

It wasn’t looking good for the three-time major champion though as he soon moved to eight-over par with a double bogey at the 10th.

Birdies at the 13th and 15th gave him an outside chance of making the cut, but it ultimately proved too little too late.

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Masters leaderboard 2021 LIVE: Justin Rose leads by four shots after Augusta first round

Dustin Johnson will be defending his Masters title this week at Augusta with the world’s best players in action including the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas. The 2021 Masters gets underway in its normal place on the calendar this year, meaning Johnson’s reign as Masters champion could well be short lived.
The world No 1 has endured a difficult season so far but he will remain one of the favourites this week due to his historic performance back in November.

Only three players in history have won back-to-back Masters titles – Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.

“My game is in good shape,” Johnson said this week. “Maybe not quite as good of shape as it was in November, but I feel like it’s coming together.

“I’m starting to hit a lot of the same shots and getting a lot more comfortable over the golf ball. I feel like it’s in pretty good form.

JUST IN: The Masters 2021 tips: Best bets for Augusta major

“I think it’s getting there. Sometimes playing in Hawaii with a lot of wind, LA with a lot of wind, Saudi with a lot of wind, sometimes it gets just a little bit off. My setup and posture was just a little bit off which caused me to hit some funny shots which is kind of the difference of playing really well or playing just okay. I think that was the main thing.”

But there are a number of players who head into the 2021 Masters in strong form and will fancy their chances.

Thomas won The Players Championship last month with a stellar final round and showcased his skills in and around the green.

Lee Westwood has also enjoyed a strong start to 2021 with the Englishman looking to become the oldest winner of The Masters.

The week is set to see surprises through all four rounds and Express Sport is on hand to provide updates throughout the week.

Masters leaderboard LIVE

Rory McIlroy's Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round

Golf: Who’s won the most Masters titles?

Rory McIlroy spoke of his reboot under new coach Pete Cowen being a journey ahead of The Masters. That journey started with a wild offroading experience at Augusta in round one on Thursday.
McIlroy lost control at the wheel in an erratic opening round which included two visits to the water and a stray second shot at the seventh which added to his unwanted Masters legend by cannoning into the leg of his father Gerry.

“I think he was OK. He walked away pretty swiftly so that was alright,” said McIlroy. “I think he needs to put some ice on it. Maybe I’ll autograph a bag of frozen peas for him.”

No harm was done to his dad but terminal damage was sustained to his chances of a first Green Jacket with an opening 76 – his highest first round in 13 visits to Augusta.

It was a start that leaves the out-of-sorts Northern Irishman fighting to avoid what would be only his second missed cut at the Masters.

The Masters and McIlroy remains an unrequited love. He has six top-10 finishes at Augusta but the image of him head in hands again after drilling his approach to the 13th into Rae’s Creek said it all.

He had warned beforehand that expectations should be tempered for the season’s first major given the work he has just begun behind the scenes. He was right.

There was no margin for error with the wind blowing and the greens glassy. Unfortunately for McIlroy he made a boatload of them.

Rory McIlroy's Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round

Rory McIlroy’s Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round (Image: GETTY)

McIlroy has become a notoriously slow starter at the Majors. Since he won his last one in 2014, he stands at 32 over in the first round. He is 64 under in rounds two to four combined.

True to form on Thursday, some unexpected excursions put him in early trouble with three successive dropped shots on the front nine topped off by the dad-seeking missile from the trees at the seventh.

He had been left with his drive there but with misses right too the tee box – his happy place when he is humming – had become an unpredictable danger area.

One-way misses might have been manageable, two was a recipe for confusion and a visible drain on confidence.

McIlroy did pull a shot back at the par-five eighth after a terrific approach but a costly three-putt from 18 feet at the next sent him to the turn three over.

He was fan-bothering again off the tee at the 11th and it all went wrong again with his second shot funnelling down into the water. A bogey followed which would have been even worse but for a 30ft putt dropping.

Rory McIlroy's Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round

Rory McIlroy’s Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round (Image: GETTY)

Rory McIlroy's Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round

Rory McIlroy’s Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round (Image: GETTY)

He might have hoped that may have represented a turning point but in his heart of hearts he will have known he was fighting a losing battle with himself.

The splashdown at 13 confirmed as much. It was a calamity from the fairway and McIlroy knew it from the moment he struck his second shot.

The ball was still in flight when he swished the air with his club in exasperation and as it hit the water his hands went behind his head before nuzzling his face into its grip.

It was a picture of despair almost on a par with that when he blew his best chance at the Masters a decade ago and led to a bogey.

Although he clawed a shot back at the par-five 15th, McIlroy could not rescue a round that had long since unravelled. McIlroy’s four-over-par total leaves him seven shots adrift of clubhouse leaders Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman.

“He is just not in control of his game at the moment. He is on a low right now,” said Europe’s former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.

McIlroy’s Masters race is already run.

Stenson starts strong

Henrik Stenson’s head was spinning after fighting the course – and his own game – but the Swede was proud to have come through it and put down an early marker.

The European Ryder Cup star has dropped to No 117 in the world rankings and was never in total command on Thursday but a one-over-par 73 – despite finding the water at the short 16th – was a fine start in the circumstances.

Rory McIlroy's Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round

Rory McIlroy’s Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round (Image: GETTY)

“That was hard work. I think I made 11 up and downs in total so it was a lot of scrambling out there,” said Stenson.

“I’m struggling with my game, but I put a good effort in. I was fighting hard for every shot. I guess with some experience and some magical short game skills, I managed to keep it together and probably turn a 77 into 73.

“I’ve got to give myself a big pat on the back for the fighting effort. It’s a hard golf course when you’re playing well but it’s even harder when you’re not playing well. We’ll live to fight another day.”

The double bogey three holes from home was his only frustration.

“That kind of put a shame on another decent scorecard given the circumstances and how much I had to fight,” he said.

Long day one for Long

English amateur Joe Long admitted that Augusta National put the frighteners on him after an eye-opening introduction to its unique challenge.

Rory McIlroy's Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round

Rory McIlroy’s Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round (Image: GETTY)

The 23-year-old Bristolian endured a painful day, shooting ten over – eight behind playing partner Bernhard Langer who is 40 years his senior.

“The nerves were there because, obviously, I cared about it, but I think it would be stupid to put expectations on it when I’ve never even played in the United States before. There’s nothing like it in Europe. The slopes out there are crazy,” said Long.

“This golf course is brutal, especially if you’ve never played it before. I didn’t really hit it my best today. I struggled to just commit to some shots and almost got a little bit scared of some outcomes out there and that’s all it was really. You can’t do that out here.

“Everyone I’ve listened to that’s been successful hasn’t done that. So it’s just one of those things. All part of learning really.”

He did at least pick up one useful tip from the ageless Langer ahead of round two. “He just hits it dead straight every time,” said Long.

Rory McIlroy's Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round

Rory McIlroy’s Masters bid already over after hitting dad in nightmare Augusta first round (Image: GETTY)

Woosnam’s injury worry

Ian Woosnam is determined to play on through the pain after limping his way round Augusta.

The veteran Welshman, who won the Masters 30 years ago, tore a groin muscle ahead of the tournament but still shot a highly creditable four over par.

“I’m playing on one leg, plus I haven’t had a scorecard in my hand for 18 months, so I was pretty damned pleased really,” said the 63-year-old.

“It was bothering me from the first shot and it just got worse. I was thinking of coming in after 11 but I was scoring quite well.

“With this being my 30th year I definitely wanted to play this year and see how I went.

“I’ll see how I feel tomorrow. It’s in a place where it’s not going to go away like that but being that I’m stupid, I’ll most probably play. I’ll get out there and if it is unplayable, I’ll just have to come in.”

10-year-old Round Rock girl to compete in Drive, Chip & Putt finals at Augusta National Sunday

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) – Before Round Rock’s Ava Frazier takes a swing, she steps back and takes a few deep breaths.

Like any serious golfer, it’s all about the process. The process will lead to results as Frazier’s dad always tells her.

“Me and my dad believe that the better your process, setup and swing is…the better that you’ll hit it,” Frazier said Wednesday.

For this 10-year-old, already with dreams of playing golf professionally, the process led her all the way to Augusta National Golf Club for the 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals.

The Drive, Chip & Putt competition is a fairly new endeavor for youth golf, but it’s already a prestigious opportunity. Created in partnership with the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and the PGA of America, golfers from seven to 15-years-old compete in four age groups in the three facets of the game for the right to call themselves No. 1 for the year.

Think of it like golf’s version of the punt, pass and kick competition put on by the US National Football League.

The event started in 2014 and ramped up interest quickly with thousands of kids competing across the world. This year’s event had qualifiers from 30 US states, two Canadian provinces and France.

Reaching the national finals, earns you and your family a trip to Augusta National Golf Club’s hallowed grounds to compete against the best just seven days before the Masters Tournament awards its Green Jacket.

Just getting to the finals to see the green of Augusta is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Though, it’s felt like a lifetime since Frazier qualified for her trip to Georgia.

Frazier’s journey to the national finals

Frazier started her path to the finals nearly 22 months ago, advancing through a local qualifier at Whistling Straits in June 2019 and a sub-regional qualifier at Wisconsin’s Sentry World in August 2019.

In September 2019, Frazier went to Minneapolis’ Interlachen Country Club for the regional qualifier.

Frazier started the overall competition against hundreds of seven to 9-year-old girls. At the regional qualifier, she finished No. 1, becoming just one of 10 girls in her age group set to compete in Augusta on Sunday.

“I had no idea that I was going to win. I was really surprised because there were lots of other people that were just as good as me or better than me,” Frazier said.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event set for April 2020.

As the entire sports world shut down due to the pandemic, Frazier wondered if she’d lost her chance to play at Augusta.

The 2020 Masters tournament was delayed until November. The organizers for Drive, Chip & Putt didn’t overthink the situation, opting not to hold 2020 competitions and invite the 2019 finalists for the 2021 event.

“I was really disappointed [at first]. I thought they were just going to cancel the whole thing, but no. I’m glad they didn’t,” Frazier said. “It took me several months to get here. It’s been hard, but it’s been fun.”

Frazier says putting is her favorite part of golf, but, based on the videos in this story, she can do it all on the course.

Nervousness will be a natural feeling Sunday when Frazier prepares to compete against the best of her age group. She says, as long as she follows the process, she’ll be happy with doing her best.

How to watch

The 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt will be aired live from Augusta National Golf Club on Golf Channel Sunday at 7 a.m.

You can find more information on the 2022 event on the Drive, Chip & Putt website.[3]

Texans competing in the Drive, Chip & Putt

There are eight Texans representing the state in this year’s Drive, Chip & Putt national finals.

Name Hometown Age Group
Ava Frazier Round Rock 7-9
Henry Guan Irving 10-11
Avery Zweig McKinney 12-13
Duff Mckay Dallas 12-13
Finn Burkholder The Woodlands 12-13
Maye Huang Katy 12-13
Jaivir Pande Houston 14-15
Samantha Straight Lewisville 14-15

Andrew Schnitker