Augusta, Georgia, Apr 8 (EFE).- Justin Rose went on a blistering run after a slow start to fire a 7-under in his opening round at The Masters on Thursday, leaving him four shots clear of his nearest rival.
A former world No. 1 who is currently ranked 41st in the world, the Englishman was struggling like most of the field early on and stood at 2-over when he stepped up to the tee box at the par-5 eighth hole.
But he knocked his second shot onto the green with a fairway wood and then rolled in his eagle putt to get back to even par.
The 2013 US Open champion kept that momentum going with birdie putts on holes nine, 10, 12 and 13 to take the lead away from American Brian Harman and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyami, who each had gone out earlier and shot a 3-under 69.
But Rose wasn’t finished yet.
He carded three more birdies on the par-5 15th, the par-3 16th and the par-4 17th holes.
The 40-year-old Rose, who made the cut in his first 13 Masters tournaments and finished runner-up in both 2015 and 2017, is seeking his first green jacket.
While the Englishman made it look easy, several elite players struggled Thursday at the Augusta National Golf Club.
American Dustin Johnson, the world No. 1 and defending champion, shot a 2-over 74, and his second-ranked countryman, Justin Thomas, fell to as low as 3-over but battled back to finish at 1-over for his opening round.
Spaniard Jon Rahm, who is still seeking his first major championship title, shot even par.
Rose (65), Harman (69) and Matsuyama (69) were the only players to finish with rounds under 70 on Thursday. EFE