Justin Rose cards 65 to grab first-day lead at the Masters

Justin Rose cards 65 to grab  first-day lead at the Masters

The Englishman Justin Rose carded a spectacular 7-under 65 in the first round to grab a four-stroke lead at the Masters on Thursday.

Rose’s brilliant round came on a day when almost everybody played defense, and nobody figured to do anything luminous, but Rose; came with his own plans as he packed an eagle, seven birdies, and two pars from No. 8 to No. 17 at the $11.5million event.

“I knew 2 over through seven is not the end of the world,” Rose said, “but also knew you’re going in the wrong direction. … So obviously the eagle, boom, straight back in there, and I guess almost just piggybacking with a birdie straightaway at No. 9, suddenly I turned in 1 under, and I could feel like I could actually leave the front nine as a job well done and kind of move on to the back nine and build a score.”

The 40-year-old Rose left behind Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and American Brian Harman by a massive four-stroke to claim the momentum on the very first day of the prestigious golf tournament at the Augusta Nation Golf Course.

“It's incredible,” Rose said. “It's a good reminder that you just never know what can happen out there.”

"I felt like the conditions today were not the day to go hit them and have your personal best out there," said the first-round leader. "It was pretty windy - well, windy enough to be tricky, and obviously the greens are incredibly firm and fast."

Former champion Patrick Reed and 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson were among a pack of four golfers a further shot off the lead.

The winner of the last week’s PGA Tour event, Jordan Spieth, finished with a one-under-par 71 after a roller-coaster round that included a triple-bogey, bogey, three birdies, and an eagle.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy’s poor form continued as the Tour Championship winner’s opening four-over-par round of 76 left him 11 behind leader Justin Rose at the Masters.

Despite a mediocre start to a major championship, McIlroy was pleased with his first-round performance.

"I'm quite encouraged with the way I hit it on the way in. I hit some loose shots out there but after the six iron in the water on 13 I hit some really good shots.

"I'm going to go to the range to work on it a little bit more but it was just one of those days where I wasn't very efficient with my scoring."

Defending champion and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson also had a rough round with a 2-over 74 to share the tied-30th position with Brooks Koepka, Harris English, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Cameron Smith, and 16 other big names at the end of day one.

"The conditions are definitely different," said Johnson after his round, drawing a distinction between how the course played in November compared to Thursday. "Playing definitely a lot tougher just because, when the greens are firm and fast here, the golf course plays difficult. Then you add the wind in today, it made it play really difficult, I thought."