7 Apr 2017

Charley Hoffman takes a four shot led at US Masters

12:51 pm on 7 April 2017

The American golfer Charley Hoffman has a four shot lead after the opening round of the US Masters at Augusta.

Charley Hoffman

Charley Hoffman Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In blustery-cool conditions Hoffman shot a seven under par 65.

Hoffman, who has won four PGA Tour titles, played a flawless back nine to forge ahead of world number 53 McGirt, who has only one Tour victory to his name.

William McGert is second with England's Lee Westwood another shot back in third.

There is a large group tied for fourth which includes Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose.

World number one Dustin Johnson who was the favourite to win the title decided not to play following a fall yesterday when he hurt his back.

Johnson looked comfortable on the driving range and arrived at the first tee with the final group out.

Compatriots Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker prepared to tee off, but Johnson suddenly walked back to the Augusta National clubhouse before informing organisers he was unfit to play.

"I just don't feel like there is any chance of me competing," Johnson said. "It hurts."

World number two Rory McIlroy made a wayward start and slipped to three over but the Northern Irishman also found form over the closing holes to end at level par.