Hoffman Goes on Birdie-Run After Top-Ranked Johnson Withdraws from Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Charley Hoffman was too hot to catch. Dustin Johnson was too sore to play.
Hoffman has the first-round lead at the Masters, taming Augusta National during an afternoon in which the top-ranked Johnson had to withdraw because of a back injury. Hoffman bogeyed two of his first five holes before carding seven birdies over the next 11 to take a commanding four-stroke lead over William McGirt. No other players broke 70.
Hoffman's lead is the largest at the Masters for the opening round since Jack Burke Jr. led by four through 18 holes of the 1955 tourney.
Lee Westwood ran off five straight birdies late in the afternoon and salvaged a 70. Only eight other players broke par, a group that included Phil Mickelson, Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia.
Johnson's Masters experience ended before he teed off. He hurt his lower back Wednesday while falling down a flight of steps in the home he is renting for the tournament. Johnson walked to the first hole as if he would play in the final group of the day, but changed his mind at the last possible moment.