Dustin Johnson explains his decision to withdraw from Masters

The Latest: Mickelson off to hot start at Augusta National

He made seven birdies over his last 11 holes for a 7-under 65 and his four shot lead was also the largest for the opening round at the Masters in 62 years.

England s Lee Westwood, 43, still looking for a major title after 75 attempts, was in third place a shot further back on 70 on a day when top contenders suffered in hard conditions on the 7,435-yard Augusta National course.

A sentiment shared by defending champion Danny Willett, who turned a torrid, double bogey, bogey start into a respectable one-over-par 73. Hoffman responded with eight birdies in his final 13 holes.

In sum, Hoffman's 65 was 9.97 strokes better than the field average (74.98).

After starting with a par, Hoffman kept up his birdie run - he's made six in his last nine holes - with one at the par-5 second. "The more I thought about it, I wasn't going to have any chance". The folks at Augusta National paid tribute to Arnold Palmer, who died in September, but delivering "I am a member of Arnie's Army" buttons to every patron Thursday. I've done the work on the short game and I believe I'm doing the right things.

Henley opened with par, two birdies and a bogey on the first four holes before five consecutive pars to card 1-under 35 on the first nine.

The U.S. Masters started in bright and blustery conditions on Thursday with the fitness of world number one Dustin Johnson the major talking point around Augusta National. Not likely. When the first groups tee off in the morning, the temperatures are expected to be in the high 40s, reaching only the mid-60s with sustained winds in excess of 20 miles per hour throughout the day. Instead, Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker played their round as a twosome.


"I mean, it sucks". "I'm playing probably the best golf of my career and this is one of my favorite tournaments. And to have a freak accident happen [Wednesday] afternoon after I got back from the course, it's tough".

Johnson told The State he injured his left lower back when he slipped walking down stairs in his socks.

Johnson said that he slipped while walking in his stocking feet, trying to go out and move the auto before his two-year-old son Tatum got home from day care. "My left elbow is swollen and bruised". It's just real tight. "Obviously, I can make some swings", he said after working on the practice range, "but I can't make my normal swing". "I just can't swing the club".

"When I step on the property it just feels special".

In addition to the eagle at No. 2, Mickelson had three birdies to go along with four bogeys. Lee Westwood will begin Friday in third at 2-under. I look forward to it, and I look forward to the challenge the next three days.

"I love it around here especially because the wind is going to magnify your misses and a lot of the guys that aren't familiar with this course and where you can go to on certain holes for certain pins will miss in the wrong spot and end up making big numbers".

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