Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Anticipation continued to construct in February when Augusta Nationwide officers introduced that LIV golfers who met Masters {qualifications} can be eligible to play within the 2023 Masters, the because the division of the excursions began with the primary LIV match in June 2022.

Many PGA Tour gamers like Rory McIlroy who had beforehand criticized the Saudi-funded LIV collection eased stress this week by turning the dialog to the historical past and custom of the Masters.

“Look, it’s a story and a storyline, however the Masters and the 4 main championships sit above all that noise, and that’s the best way it must be this week,” McIlroy mentioned.

Extra: When is Tiger Woods taking part in? 2023 Masters pairings, tee instances for Friday’s second spherical

Augusta Nationwide chairman Fred Ridley additional defined on Wednesday feedback he made in December expressing disappointment in gamers choosing the LIV collection as a substitute of the PGA Tour.

“What I used to be attempting to level out, and I alluded to it in my feedback, the platform that these gamers have constructed theircareers on have been based mostly on the blood, sweat and tears of their predecessors, folks like Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods,” Ridley mentioned.

“So my remark in December was actually extra that I used to be expressing some disappointment that these gamers have been taking the platform that had been given to them — that they rightly had earned success on, by the best way — and shifting to a different alternative, maybe not serious about who would possibly come behind them.”

Here is how every LIV golfer carried out Thursday within the 2023 Masters opening spherical:

Brooks Koepka | Tied for the lead, 7 underneath 65

Brooks Koepka closed out robust to tie Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland for the lead with a 7-under par 65.Koepka made the flip at 4-under par, and birdied three of the final 4 holes to complete.

He turned the primary LIV golfer invited to the interview room throughout the match.

“Love to complete with two birdies like that. Simply type of hopefully trip that into tomorrow,” Koepka mentioned. “You realize, placing good, driving it nicely, simply type of construct off all these issues, and get myself, you recognize, in competition with 9 to go on Sunday, that is the entire objective.”

Story continues

Cameron Smith | 2 underneath 70

Making his seventh Masters look, the 29-year-old Australian has top-10 finishes in 4 of his previous 5 Masters. His first spherical included 4 birdies and two bogeys.

Patrick Reed | 1 underneath 71

The 2018 Masters champion enters with top-10 finishes in three of his previous 5 begins at Augusta Nationwide. He carded two birdies within the opening eight holes, however completed with three bogies to go together with two extra birdies the remainder of the best way.

“It was simply type of a kind of irritating days,” he mentioned. “I hit 12 out of 14 fairways. The one ones I missedwere 15, barely to the precise, however I used to be in a position to get a great layup there, make birdie. A foul tee shot on the final. In addition to that, I simply did not actually make something.”

Phil Mickelson | 1 underneath 71

Phil Mickelson shot a Thursday 71 within the 2023 Masters opener, working round three bogeys and a double on No. 11.

“I hit quite a lot of good pictures at the moment and had an opportunity to shoot a low spherical. However that is the difficulty I have been coping with is I will make two swings and it prices me 4 pictures on 11 and 16,” mentioned the three-time Masters champion. “That I get to play Augusta Nationwide within the Masters and that is an superior day it doesn’t matter what I shoot. Simply attempting to benefit from the day and never put a lot stress.”

Joaquin Niemann | 1 underneath 71

Joaquin Niemann opened with 4 birdies on the primary 9 however bumped into bother after the flip. He carded bogeys on Nos. 12, 13, 15 and 18.

“I imply, I performed unbelievable golf on the entrance 9, and I type of stored it happening the again,” he mentioned. “I feel the one unhealthy shot I hit was on 13 the place I simply hit a foul swing there. However then I hit a great shot on 14, good putt additionally. Then on 15, I assumed I hit an unbelievable shot. I imply, it was a very good shot and I simply in all probability wanted two extra yards and it was in all probability a tap-in eagle and ended up making bogey.

So I feel that is the best way this course works. Yeah, I imply, it is the best way it’s.”

Niemann is making his fourth Masters look. His tie for thirty fifth final April is his finest end at Augusta Nationwide.

Dustin Johnson | 1 underneath 71

The 2020 champion birdied the par-4 18th to complete underneath par. Johnson has top-12 finishes in six of his previous seven begins at Augusta Nationwide.

Talor Gooch | even 72

Harold Varner III | even 72

Abraham Ancer | even 72

The 31-one-year from Mexico described his opening spherical as “an enormous struggle,” in his fourth Masters look.

“I assume story of two tales there from the entrance and the again 9,” he mentioned. “Three bogeys within the entrance, three birdies within the again.

“I needed to keep affected person. I felt like I used to be hitting the ball fairly nicely and not likely getting something out of it. Put myself in three powerful spots there for these three bogeys and could not handle to avoid wasting par.”

Jason Kokrak | 1 over 73

Thomas Pieters | 2 over 74

Bryson DeChambeau | 2 over 74

Sergio Garcia | 2 over 74

Stated the 2017 Masters champion: “Clearly began properly, however I do not know, I hit some good tee pictures on the entrance 9. I hit a pair not so nice iron pictures. I hit a pair actually good iron pictures. I do not know. Battling mentally a bit bit. I used to be attempting every thing I may to do the perfect I may, and sadly the wheels began coming off a bit on the again 9.”

When requested about returning to play at Augusta Nationwide, Garcia accused media questions of pushing a story.

“Completely regular. You guys must cease it. You guys are making an enormous deal out of this, and it’s you guys,” he mentioned.

“I’ve had nothing however nice issues from each single participant I discuss to. So please cease it and discuss in regards to the Masters.”

Charl Schwartzel | 2 over 74

Stated the 2011 Masters champion: “Not a great begin. I modified putters this week and received out on the primary gap and — I all the time say, when altering a membership, particularly a putter that is received to do with really feel, you’re feeling it once you really feel a little bit of adrenaline, you recognize? And I received on the first, and I used to be like, wow, this factor’s heavy.”

Mito Pereira | 2 over 74

Louis Oosthuizen | 4 over 76

Bubba Watson | 5 over 77

The 44-year-old is certainly one of simply 17 to have received the Masters greater than as soon as (2012 and 2014 champion).

Kevin Na | Withdrew

Na withdrew after 9 holes on Thursday as a consequence of an undisclosed sickness. That left 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir to play solo on the again 9.

“He mentioned earlier he wasn’t feeling nicely,” mentioned Weir, who shot an even-par 72. “So I am unsure what’s taking place, however he informed me earlier he wasn’t feeling nicely.”

This text initially appeared on Augusta Chronicle: How all 18 LIV golfers carried out throughout the Masters opening spherical

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