World No.41 Justin Rose has played one of the great Masters rounds, posting a seven-under 65 in the first round to lead the first major of the year by four strokes.
In a day of carnage at Augusta National, the 2013 US Open champion was in sublime touch, and a class of his own as he took a big early lead on Friday (AEST).
After making the turn at one-under, the 40-year-old set the scoreboard alight with a birdie blitz on the back nine that saw him obliterate clubhouse leaders, Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama, who are at three-under.
Rose’s four-shot lead after one round is just one off the Masters record of five, set in 1941.
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While Rose is a major winner and a former world No.1, few saw his stunning opening round at the Masters coming in 2021.
The event is just the eighth he’s played since September’s US Open. He has missed two cuts and claimed no finish higher than T-17 in that period.
He finished in a tie for 23rd at the last Masters in November, while he missed the cut in 2019.
Rose has, however, twice finished second at Augusta and has five top-10 finishes at the Masters to his name.
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In 2017, he had one arm into the green jacket but he missed a seven-foot putt on the 72nd hole for the win before losing in a playoff to Sergio Garcia.
Making Rose’s first round score all the more remarkable on Friday was the carnage that unfolded elsewhere in the field in hard, fast and windy conditions.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson signed for two-over par, Rory McIlroy four-over and Jason Day five-over, while Bryson DeChambeau was five-over through 14 holes.
Rose hit a staggering 72 per cent of greens in regulation and 78 per cent of fairways, while he took on average just 1.39 putts per hole.
The field average was 57 per cent of greens, 66 per cent of fairways and 1.67 putts per hole.