Masters 2023 live updates: Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka and Viktor Hovland share the lead in day for going low at Augusta
Jon Rahm overcame a double bogey on the first hole to shoot 65 in the first round of the 2023 Masters.
With an ominous forecast for the weekend at Augusta National, it was as if the Masters wanted to deliver one glorious round before the clouds and the rain and the slog ensues. And, boy, did it ever. One of the most gettable scoring days in recent memory produced one of the best, most varied leaderboards for the first round of any major.
With little wind, the temperature rising into the 90s and humidity keeping the greens softer than normal, World No. 2 Jon Rahm, No. 9 Viktor Hovland and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, fresh off a win on the LIV Golf circuit, all shot seven-under-par 67s to share the lead.
(Scroll down for live updates)
There are five other major champions in the top 12: Jason Day (67), Shane Lowry (68), Adam Scott (68), Gary Woodland (68), and defending Masters champ Scottie Scheffler (68).
Even an amateur got into the low-scoring act, with reigning U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett shooting 68. In all, 36 players scored in red figures.
Unfortunately for World No. 3 Rory McIlroy, he wasn’t among those who seized on the opportunity. The Irishman who is seeking to complete the career Grand Slam with a Masters win made five birdies, including at 15 and 16, but also suffered a double bogey at the seventh and also saw his late rally derailed with a bogey at 17.
A limping Tiger Woods struggled, too, carding only three birdies—at 8, 15 and 16—to shoot two-over 74 and be tied for 54th place. He’ll be battling to make the cut late into the afternoon on Friday.
Rahm got off to a terrible start with a four-putt double bogey on the opening hole, but he charged back to record the lowest score of any player who made 6 at No. 1. Hovland’s score was his lowest in any major, and Koepka has his first lead after any round in a major since he won the 2019 PGA Championship.
On the LIV Golf front, beyond Koepka, the next-highest placed golfer from the Saudi-backed circuit was reigning Open Championship winner Cameron Smith at 70.
Masters 2023 live updates
7 p.m.: Here we go with the weather. It's just been announced that tee times for Friday have been moved up a half hour to a start of 7:30 a.m. on Friday because the first storm is supposed to arrive earlier than previously thought.
6:56 p.m.: Rory McIlroy is in a hole. Again. With a nervy up-and-down for par at the 18th after driving into a bunker, the World No. 3 finished an eventful but unsatisfying 72 that has him in T-37. History would tell us that means he's done for the week, because most Masters champs come out of the top 10 after the first round. McIlroy is now at five straight opening rounds at par or worse at Augusta.
6:40 p.m.: Amateur Sam Bennett closed out his first round at Augusta National with a par to shoot 68 to match the defending champion in his group. The 23-year-old reigning U.S. Am champ didn't have a single bogey on his card. To summarize how good the effort was: He became the first player in at least 20 years to open birdie-eagle. Bennett also birdied the par-3 sixth and then made 12 consecutive pars. He stood T-6 when he signed his card.
6:38 p.m.: World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is putting himself in position to successfully defend this week, shooting a first-round 68 despite not having his best stuff on the greens. He is trying to become just the fourth player to go back-to-back at the Masters. The other three? Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. Good company.
6:19 p.m.: Back-to-back for Rory! McIlroy rolls in a 13-foot downhill slider for birdie at the par-3 16th to get back into red numbers at one under.
6:09 p.m.: Rory knocks in a short birdie putt at the par-5 15th to get back to level par with three to play. Tom Kim, who made an eagle at the 13th, gave both of those shots back with a double bogey to fall back to two under. Kim was in the greenside bunker in two, but his play from the sand caught the false front and gathered speed into the water. The fine margins at Augusta National.
6:01 p.m.: In the race for low amateur honors, U.S. Amateur champ Sam Bennett is distancing himself. The fifth-year senior at Texas A&M is four under through 15 holes. His nearest pursuers? Harrison Crowe and Ben Carr, who both shot three-over 75.
5:52 p.m.: Jason Day continues his resurgence with a five-under 67 in the first round to sit just two back. The former World No. 1 and 2015 PGA champion has battled injuries over the last few years but is back playing well. He has finished inside the top 10 in five of his last six starts on the PGA Tour. You can read about the changes Day is making in his swing to regain his form, right here.
5:39 p.m.: Max Homa joins Rory to become the second player to give a walk-and-talk interview on Thursday, throwing in an AirPod on the par-4 14th. Though his on-course interview earlier this year at Torrey Pines was entertaining and insightful, this one was a bit underwhelming.
Meanwhile, Tom Kim makes the third eagle of the day on the 13th, while Jordan Spieth rinses his second shot on the same hole en route to a double bogey. Augusta National wanted players to face a “momentous decision” on the second shot, and it seems like they’re getting it.
5:21 p.m.: A big question entering week was how the par-5 13th would play. The hole was lengthened 35 yards ahead of the tournament in order to make the second shot more compelling. So far today, there have been two eagles, but it is playing as the most difficult of the four par 5s, averaging a shade over 4.7.
5:04 p.m.: If you were wondering if a LIV golfer would be sharp enough to contend this week, you’ve got your answer. Brooks Koepka finishes birdie-birdie to shoot seven-under 65 to sit in a tie for the lead with Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland.
5:00 p.m.: Rory McIlroy’s first-round struggles at Augusta National are continuing through 11 holes as he sits one over par. Rory hasn’t broken par on Thursday at the Masters since 2018, carding 73, 76, 75 and 73 over the last four years. Considering Augusta favors front-runners (see below), Rory will need to make a few birdies coming in to avoid being too far back after the first round.
4:55 p.m.: Staying in touch with the lead on Thursday is important in any event, but even more so here at Augusta. Since 2005, Tiger Woods is the only player to go on to win after being outside the top 10 after the first round. He did it in 2005 and 2019. Each of the last three champions has been inside the top three after the opening round. Players further down the board certainly aren’t out of it, but Augusta National is historically a front-runner’s course.
4:47 p.m.: Fresh off his victory at LIV Golf’s Orlando event last week, Brooks Koepka rolls in a birdie at No. 17 to get to six under. The four-time major champ struggled with form and injuries last year, finishing no better than 55th in a major. He’s missed his last two cuts at the Masters, but is showing signs of the game that made him a mainstay on major leaderboards from 2017-’21.
4:28 p.m.: How about this for a leaderboard? Hovland and Rahm lead, but also inside the top 10 are Brooks Koepka, Cam Young, Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele, Shane Lowry, Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth. It's early, of course, but this highly-anticipated Masters is delivering the goods so far.
4:19 p.m.: If you’ve been following golf this year, you know telecasts have been interviewing players while they’re on the course in an effort to provide fans an inside look into a player’s process. Add Rory McIlroy to the list of pros who have agreed to the on-course chat. Rory threw an AirPod in and chatted with Jim Nantz and Trevor Immelman as he played the ninth hole, eventually making par. Rory talked about staying focused on his game plan despite a poor start (he’s one over through nine), resisting the urge to be overly aggressive to get back under par.
3:57 p.m.: Let’s talk weather and draws. If you’ve been following so far this week, you know the forecast for the next few days looks ominous. According to Weather Channel, thunderstorms are likely to roll in early on Friday afternoon. Saturday, well, Saturday appears to be a total soaker. If this holds, it seems like the late-early wave might luck out, dodging the potential delays tomorrow afternoon. That’s good news for Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Jordan Spieth and Sam Burns.
3:45 p.m.: What a comeback from World No. 3 Jon Rahm. After four-putting the first hole for double bogey, Rahm tallies six birdies and an eagle to shoot seven-under 65 and join Viktor Hovland in a share of the lead. It is the lowest score in Masters history of any player who opened the round with a double bogey.
It was a ball-striking clinic for Rahm, who hit 17 of 18 greens and all 14 fairways. The one green he “missed” was at the seventh, where he was all of two inches off the green, less than 15 feet away from the hole. He made the putt. Well, chip, technically speaking.
3:28 p.m.: Tiger isn’t able to record the double sandy at the final hole, settling for bogey and a first-round 74. It’s his highest opening-round score at Augusta since 2005, when he also shot 74 before going on to win.
3:24 p.m.: Viktor Hovland is playing in his fourth Masters this week. In his first three starts, his best finish was T-21 in 2021. In his first 12 rounds at Augusta, he failed to break 70. With a par save at the last, he shoots a seven-under 65 to hold the early lead. Not only his best round at Augusta, it’s his lowest round at any major.
MORE: Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele are on their way to proving this 'Tiger curse' at Augusta doesn't really exist
3:14 p.m.: Oh no. Finding the edge of the fairway off the tee at the 18th, Tiger has an awkward stance with right leg in the bunker. Yes, that’s the one he nearly lost in the car accident a couple years ago. He sends a sweeping draw into the greenside bunker but hops uncomfortably out of the tough lie.
3:08 p.m.: The reigning U.S. Amateur champ, Sam Bennett is showing no signs of being intimidated by the big stage. Playing alongside World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Bennett is four under through six holes and inside the top five.
2:48 p.m.: Two in a row for Tiger! After rolling in a lengthy putt at the 15th, Tiger hits a nice iron shot and converts from inside 10 feet at the par-3 16th. Back to one over for the round with two to go.
2:42 p.m.: So much movement in such a short period. Adam Scott just eagled the 15th to jump to five under, Shane Lowry birdied the last to get in the house at four under. By the way, Sam Burns is four under after three (3!) holes and Chris Kirk is four under over his last four hole to sit at three under.
2:36 p.m.: Tiger Woods just made only his second birdie of the day, this one at the par-5 15th hole. He’s hanging on still at two over par. He’s tied for 55th place.
2:23 p.m.: Hovland, Schauffele, Rahm, Koepka, Lowry at the top of the leaderboard here Thursday afternoon? That works. Hovland is still setting the pace at seven under par with three holes remaining.
1:55 p.m.: This guy is on fire! Hovland goes for the newly lengthened par-5 13th in two and easily two-putts for birdie to move four clear of the four players tied for second at three-under, including Xander Schauffele, who has a front row seat.
Speaking of that group in second place, Brooks Koepka, who just won last week at LIV Golf's Orlando event, is three-under through his first seven holes and eight feet for eagle on the easy par-5 eighth, which is playing about a third of a stroke under par already today.
1:50 p.m.: The U.S. Amateur champion, Sam Bennett, playing with Scheffler, rolls in a birdie at the first. Guess young guys don't get nervous anymore.
1:39 p.m.: Defending champion Scottie Scheffler is off and running. His tee shot at the first finds the fairway. This is Scheffler's fourth title defense of the season. In those tournaments, he's finished first, fourth and fourth.
He made bogey at the last, but it's an opening round of 71 for Fred Couples. It doesn't seem to matter how old this guy gets, he always plays well at Augusta.
1:25 p.m.: It's another birdie for Viktor Hovland, who, in three Masters appearances, has never shot a round in the 60s. It would take something going spectacularly wrong for that to still be the case after today. He is six under par and three clear of second place as he heads to the famed par-3 12th.
1:05 p.m.: It's a good thing Scott Stallings ended up getting his Masters invite, after all. With a birdie at the 18th, he is your new clubhouse leader. The "other" Scott Stallings must be having a ball.
1:03 p.m.: Well ... we may have just witnessed said miracle. Hovland, who has dealt with some well-documented struggles with his short game, drops a perfect flop shot over the corner of the bunker, lands it just off the green and watches it trickle down to four feet. He cleans that up for what has to be a confidence-boosting par as he heads towards Amen Corner
12:50 p.m.: There's the Jon Rahm everybody was waiting for. After four-putting the first for a double bogey, Rahm has played the next seven holes in five-under. He's now just two back of Hovland, who safely found the fairway at the 10th, but left his approach shot right of the bunker that sits above the right side of the green. It will take a miracle to get that anywhere near the hole.
12:40 p.m.: Viktor Hovland is not messing around. The 25-year-old nips a wedge off a downhill lie from the left side of the fairway at nine to just three feet from the hole. He'll have that to go out in five-under 31 ... and he sinks it. He heads to the 10th tee with a two shot lead over Shane Lowry who's having a bit of trouble at the 11th.
12:31 p.m.: That's a new way to play the eighth hole. From the fairway, both Woods and Hovland go high over the trees on the left with a cut, leaving pitches over the mounds that border the front and left side of the green. Needing a circle on the card, Tiger almost holes his pitch and taps in for birdie. Hovland's birdie wasn't quite as exciting, but it was a birdie nonetheless, and more importantly, it moves him into the solo lead at four under.
12:08 p.m.: Brutal for Tiger at the seventh. A drive down the left-center of the fairway and an approach that landed some 10 feet right of the flag funnels down into a bowl. Putting up the hill, Woods smashes his birdie try five feet past the hole and his par putt hits the lip and stays out. It's the second lip-out leading to a bogey in three holes for Woods, who is now desperately in need of a birdie on the par-5 eighth.
11:58 a.m.: Maybe the LIV players aren't so rusty after all. Sergio Garcia makes the turn in two under and Patrick Reed is one under. You have to go back more than 15 years to find a Masters champ that wasn't under par after nine holes in the first round so ther's hope for these two.
11:50 a.m.: Mike Weir finishes with respectable even-par 72 but clearly Weirsy was taking his time. Despite playing the last nine holes as a single it took Weir 3 hours and 50 minutes to finish his round.
11:33 a.m.: Cameron Young is picking up where he left off. Runner-up in the Open Championship in 2022’s last major, Young has gone birdie-birdie-birdie to take the lead at three under par—a far cry from his 77-77 showing at last year's Masters.
11:31 a.m.: You gotta love Sandy Lyle. The Scotsman has played the role of everyman at times at the Masters, including using a hickory-shafted putter in the past. Noticeable this year is the 1988 champ is using the ball marker attached to his rain glove that he is wearing in the humid conditions and that he wears while putting. Playing in his 42nd and last Masters, amazingly that win in 1988 was his lone top 10 in the event.
11:07 a.m.: Recent history says it doesn’t look good for a Tiger Woods win this year. Woods stands at one over par through three holes. In the last 13 Masters only Scottie Scheffler last year and Sergio Garcia in 2017 weren’t at least one under par through their first three holes.
11:01 a.m.: Oh my. Jon Rahm, the third-ranked player in the world, four-jacks the first green for a double bogey. Not exactly the start one would expect from one of the pre-tournament favorites.
10:52 a.m.: Who the heck is Adrian Meronk? Well, aside from leading the Masters at two under, in his first appearance, Meronk is the first player representing Poland to ever compete in the tournament. Has three top-15 finishes worldwide in 2023, with a T-4 in Ras al Khaimah, T-10 in Abu Dhabi and T-14 at the Honda Classic. So yeah, we all saw this coming. Moments later, Meronk is joined by Viktor Hovland, who eagles No. 2 after a bomb of a tee shot.
10:32 a.m.: Tiger fans can cheer after he makes a good par on the first hole to begin his round.
10:29 a.m.: As first off, Mike Weir and Kevin Na played as a twosome. All of a sudden Weir is playing as a single after Na withdraws. With a nod to Na’s status as a LIV player, a reply to the below tweet cleverly said, “You can’t miss the cut if you WD,” a reference to LIV’s no-cut events.
10:18 a.m.: Apologies to Patrick Reed, Adam Svensson and Sahith Theegala, but the first true power group of the 2023 Masters is about to go as five-time champion Tiger Woods, Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele make their way to the first tee amid a sea of patrons. Woods finds the fairway as do Hovland (wearing a shirt that looks like he's should be hawking Hawaiian Punch) and Schauffele. NOW the Masters is truly underway.
10 a.m.: Tiger Woods has left the driving range after a half-hour session to warm up for his much-anticipated 10:18 a.m. Thursday tee time. His swing has looked good, but there is a limp in his step as he walks to the chipping and putting area.
9:36 a.m.: So Matthew McClean made bogey on the fifth hole and now he's tied several at one under par, including Scott Stallings. We're excited to watch him this week in part because of the crazy story about the delayed arrival of his Masters invitation earlier this year. You might recall that the mailing to Scott Stallings wound up in the "wrong" Scott Stalling's hands. It had a happy ending for both, as the PGA Tour pro was able to get the realtor a ticket to a practice round this week.
9:19 a.m.: As you're waking up and catching up on the early action, worth looking back at the family, fun and holes-in-ones that came from Wednesday's Par-3 Contest.
9:09 a.m.: OK, we see you McClean. It doesn't take 20-20 vision to notice that 13-foot birdie roll in on the par-3 fourth hole and get you to two under par.
8:56 a.m.: As we await some of the more anticipated threesome pairings, you can check out our nine favorite groups to watch for the first two rounds here.
8:40 a.m.: OK ... who is Matthew McClean? Well you can catch up on him and all seven amateurs competing in the field this week right here. McClean, interestingly, is a certified optometrist.
8:32 a.m.: A first player in red figures. And if you had that being amateur Matthew McClean of Northern Ireland, well, we're impressed. A birdie on the first hole and a par on the second puts the 29-year-old U.S. Mid-Amateur champion atop the leaderboard. If that happens on the course, he better have family and friends taking pictures.
8:20 a.m.: As the tournament first groups start to head off the first tee, we're bound to see some interesting attire from Masters participants. And Vijay Singh starts us off with his choice of footwear:
8:09 a.m.: There's lots of debate over who wins this week. Our experts have you covered here:
But really you should probably just read this post from our Mike Stachura, who used to be the kiss of death for any tour pro hoping to win a major, but has picked the last two majors correctly and is now going for the third leg of the Stachura Slam:
7:49 a.m.: The fanfare was minimal and but the moment fulfilling as the three legendary Masters champion officially get the 87th Masters underway. You can watch the full ceremony below. Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley spoke kindly of Gary Player, who has been surprisingly candid in recent weeks about some mixed feelings he had toward the club. Jack Nicklaus, while limping noticeably, was his gracious self. And Tom Watson quipped: "You don’t ride go-karts at my age." It was a reference to the fact that he was seriously hurt in a go-kart accident in November, requiring left shoulder replacement surgery.
7:41 a.m.: Sustained applause rings out as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Gary Player make their way to the first tee for the honorary starters ceremony.
7:33 a.m.: A quick taste of what we're looking at for the diehards. Here's the first-round hole locations.
• • •
MORE FROM GOLF DIGEST @ THE MASTERS:
2:36 p.m.: Tiger Woods collects his second birdie of the day, this one at the par-5 15th hole. Gets him back to two over for the day.