Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Hoffman, McGirt lead Masters heading into 2nd round

Hoffman, McGirt lead Masters heading into 2nd round

It is still another to blow away the field on a day when most of the field got blown away.

In the toughest opening round at the Masters in 10 years, it all felt so easy to Charley Hoffman.

And then along came Charley Hoffman, who had the misfortune of teeing off at 1:08 p.m., when the wind was gusting at its highest. McGirt teed off under sunny skies with the winds blowing around 20 miles per hour, roughly half the force of the gusts on Thursday. Two years ago, he played in the next-to-last group on Sunday but closed with a 74 to finish 10 shots behind victor Jordan Spieth.

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

I was able to make those birdies and turn it into a fantastic round".

William McGirt had a bogey on the opening hole of the second round of the Masters after just one to start the tournament.

Johnson, who has won his past three starts, was the favorite to win his first Masters. Hoffman has only previously claimed one top-25 finish at a major, tying for ninth at the 2015 Masters, but put together a remarkable round. His caddie, Brandon Antus, is a Latrobe native. If it's going to be 20-, 22-under par, then I'm playing for about 15th. "It's something I've always wanted to do". Visually - I'm a very visual person; visually, it fits my eye.

"My putt on the last - I'm putting from 45 feet up the hill straight downwind". The four-time Masters champion is sitting out the tournament for the second year in a row - and third time in the last four years - as he deals with another injury.

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The big story of the day was the outstanding performance of Hoffman, who tore apart the revered course and recorded a remarkable seven-under-par 65.

So, did he card the greatest first round in Masters history? "I will look forward to that", he said. "It actually would have been better if it had been the first set of stairs ... but it was only three [stairs], so I landed right on the bottom". Mickelson finished his 71 and said that anything at par or better would be a "phenomenal score".

"A few weeks back, I sort of sat back on a week off and asked some people what I needed to do better, and asked myself what I needed to do better, and I just needed to believe a little bit more". You don't want to make bogeys on any hole out here, more or less a birdie hole that you do have.

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.

Johnson tried to get ready for his round at the practice tee Thursday, and he arrived at the first tee for his scheduled 1:03 p.m. start but made a decision to not play.

"I love playing in the wind, this golf course is fun to play, you got to hit shots and quality golf shots especially in the wind, so the tournament's far from over". Instead of going to the first tee, he took a sharp right toward the clubhouse and soon was on his way home. Curiously, in each instance, he immediately followed the gaffe with a birdie on the ensuing hole. Not only are the soft greens and poor weather conditions going to favour him over the likes of Jordan Spieth and DJ, but the fact that he's been paired with Jon Rahm is also going to be of huge benefit to the world number 3.

"I think I'm in a good position with three rounds to go and we will see how it goes", he said.

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