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2023 Masters at Augusta National: Day 1 recap

The 2023 Masters at Augusta has seen its first day come to an end and with that we’re reviewing the high points of what proved to be an exciting first round.

Joseph McMahon
Joseph McMahon
The 2023 Masters at Augusta has seen its first day come to an end and with that we’re reviewing the high points of what proved to be an exciting first round.

This year’s Masters has a unique flavor to it, in that it’s not often that we get to have a look at Tiger Woods, a winner of 15 majors. Indeed, Woods has had sporadic appearances on tour over the last few years and where 2023 is concerned, he’s played just once: The Genesis Invitational in February. This is all to say, this could well be - although we hope not - the last time we see the golf great at Augusta.

The 2023 Masters at Augusta is set to be spicy

As you probably know by now, LIV Golf is the new kid on the block and if you know that, then you definitely know of the battle that has been raging between the PGA Tour and the new Saudi Arabian back golf league. Since its inaugural event last summer, we’ve seen a number of high-profile players taking the decision to jump ship. Among them we’ve got Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith and one of golf’s most successful players, Phil Mickelson. It goes without saying that these moves have most definitely rocked the boat which in turn adds a special flavor to this year’s tournament.

Following a back and forth between the two organizations, which saw a number of players LIV Golf players banned from participation in PGA events, and then in turn the legal battles to see themselves reinstated, we’ve finally arrived at a scenario where we will see golfers from both organizations go head-to-head for the first time. Of course, this is all just context, but in terms of how the field looks and what to expect, we can say that defending champion and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler remains the favorite. That being said, Scheffler won’t have an easy time with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas also competing for the green jacket. So, with no further ado, let’s take a look at what happened on Day 1.

Viktor Hovland

The 25-year-old Norwegian was solid from start to finish. His game was flawless on Thursday and his flashy wardrobe was opposite of his ‘boring’ play in which he just kept in the fairway, hit greens and regulation and made putts. It was an awesome display of golf that was only answered by the man we’re going to talk about below.

Jon Rahm

What can we say about the Spaniard that we haven’t mentioned in the live feed over and over again. Looking at the leaderboard, which he sits atop of with Hovland, it’s hard to fathom that he four-putted for a double-boge on no. 1. So yes, your math is right, he went on to shoot nine-under over the next 17 holes. The mental toughness of Rahm was on display and was reminiscent of Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros and other great golfers in history.

Tiger Woods

He looks old and tired. I hate to say it, but he didn’t have that Tiger spark that he used to. He made two back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16, but then bogeyed no. 18 to finish at +2. A frustrating round for Tiger, who will have to play a lot better on Friday if he wants to play on Saturday and Sunday.

Cameron Young

He’s not as flashy as Hovland, but his game is just as solid. He was under the radar for most of the round even though he managed to make seven birdies along with two bogeys. He looks like his game was designed for Augusta National and without a doubt he’ll be in one of the last groups on Sunday.

Xander Schauffele

Schauffele was solid too with six birdies and two bogies, he took advantage of the weather and the momentum of his playing partners (Hovland and Tiger). It was a fun group to follow although Tiger didn’t play great, he’s still Tiger Woods and was obviously frustrated by the solid play of Hovland and Schauffele.

Sam Bennett

This young man, who plays golf for the Aggies at Texas A&M was on fire Thursday and didn’t shy away from his playing partners; Scottie Scheffler and Max Homa. He overcame the death of his father and proudly displays wise words that his dad gave him shortly before passing away: “Don’t wait to do something.” He’s taking those words to heart as he going head-to-head with the best golfers in the world. He has been fun to watch.

Jordan Spieth

Spieth loves Augusta. Maybe it’s more like a love-hate relationship, but his confidence on this course was apparent on Thursday. He was 4 under par after eight holes and then bogeyed no. 11 and double-bogeyed no. 13. Two birdies at 15 and 16 got him back to 3-under par where he finished Friday.

Scottie Scheffler

Expectations were high for the 2022 Masters Champion and he started off like the no. 1 golfer in the world that he is. He eagled no. 2 and birdied no. 9 and looked like was going to share the top of the leaderboard with Rahm and Hovland, but a missed 3-foot putt on no. 11 slowed down his charge. He went on to shoot one-under par on the back nine to finish at four under par.

LIV golfers

There are many other story lines, but one of the most interesting is how the LIv golfers did. Here’s some of the big names and their results:

  • Brooks Koepka: T1 at -7
  • Phil Mickelson: T26 at -1
  • Dustin Johnson: T26 at -1
  • Talor Gooch: T37 at even par
  • Sergio García: T54 at +2
  • Bryson Dechambeau: T54 +2
  • Louis Oosthuizen: T73 at +4
  • Kevin Na: WD