Friday, 13 November 2020 18:51

 Photo Credit:Getty Images.

Masters first-round leaderboard
-7 P Casey (Eng), D Frittelli (SA), D Johnson (US); -6 J Thomas (US), S Im (Kor); -5 J Rose (Eng), W Simpson (US), X Schauffele (US), C Smith (Aus); -4 L Westwood (Eng), L Oosthuizen (SA), H Matsuyama (Jpn), T Woods (US), P Reed (US), B Langer (Ger), C Champ (US)
Selected others: -3 J Rahm (Spa), M Wallace (Eng), P Mickelson (US); -2 B DeChambeau (US); +1 T Hatton (Eng) +3 R McIlroy (NI)

Dustin Johnson returned on Friday to complete his opening round and join England's Paul Casey in a share of the Masters lead at seven under par.

Casey set the clubhouse target with a bogey-free 65 on Thursday that featured five birdies and an eagle.

But a three-hour delay because of an electrical storm meant 44 of the 92 players did not complete their rounds.

Johnson and Casey are joined by South Africa's Dylan Frittelli, who made three birdies in his final nine holes.

The 30-year-old, who missed the cut in his only other appearance at Augusta, had recovered from a bogey with an eagle followed by three birdies on Thursday.

World number one Johnson was three under par when play was halted on Thursday by fading light but made four birdies on his return, including at the 18th, to take a share of top spot.

Fellow American Thomas, the world number three, sits one off the pace, alongside South Korea's Sungjae Im.

Englishman Justin Rose made a scrambling 67 that included six birdies and leaves him two back, with 53 of the 92 players in the field finishing the first round under par.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy began his day with a tricky bunker shot that saw him bogey the 10th, and he endured a difficult back nine, including hitting his tee shot in the water on the 16th, to finish at three over par.

England's highest-ranked player Tyrrell Hatton, the world number nine, also had a frustrating morning at Augusta, finding the water to double bogey the par-three 16th and drop to one over par.

Among those finishing on Friday was 63-year-old two-time champion Bernhard Langer, who won in 1985 and 1993 and sits at four under par.

Defending champion Tiger Woods looked back to some of his best form with a four-under 68 on Thursday, while pre-tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau battled back after early struggles to shoot 70.

Heavy rain flooded parts of the course and left it so soft that players were able to take advantage of the benign conditions once play resumed, knowing they could stop their ball quickly on greens that usually repel wayward shots.

One of the potential problems Augusta National faces during this unprecedented staging of an autumn Masters is daylight, with no leeway for play to continue late into the evening.

Players were already scheduled for a two-tee start, from the first and 10th in the opening two rounds, to allow for the shorter days after the tournament was moved from its usual April slot because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Those who finished on Friday morning will have not have much of a turnaround before heading back out at Augusta to play their second rounds.