Rose, Hoffman lead golf’s Masters

Former US Open champion Englishman Justin Rose and unheralded American Charley Hoffman set the pace midway through the opening round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

The pair shot five-under-par rounds of 67 in prime scoring conditions to hold a share of the lead, one clear of Americans Russell Henley (68) and Ryan Palmer (10 holes) at four under.

Australian Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, rode a rollercoaster on the back nine and cursed himself for a sloppy finish after an even-par 72 left him five back.

“Just a little disappointing because, to walk off with two under, I would be pretty pleased with that with not playing my best, not playing my worst,” Scott said.

“But it would have been nice to have taken advantage of it today.”

John Senden, the top Australian finisher a year ago, was one under through six holes to hold the leading Australian position again.

World No.6 Scott was solid early on the way to making the turn at one under par, the highlight coming with a dart approach to two feet on the par-five 8th to set up his lone birdie on the front side.

He gave the shot back on the 11th after a wild drive into the trees forced a lay up but the par-five 13th helped him into red numbers again.

The Queenslander went for the green in two on an aggressive line with his six-iron and managed to just hold the green between the pin and Rae’s Creek.

While his 12-foot eagle try missed, a tap-in birdie had him thinking of a charge.

But there was a three-putt par on the 15th and a bogey on 16 after dumping his tee ball in the bunker.

Knowing he needed to put his foot down Scott stiffed his approach on 17 to tap in birdie range but undid the good work with a final-hole bogey when he went from one fairway bunker to another.

Playing with Scott, South Australian amateur Antonio Murdaca was given a few Augusta National lessons, taking four double bogeys and getting just two birdies for a six-over 78.

World No.5 Jason Day, playing in the final group, was even par through five holes while Geoff Ogilvy sat one over through 12 to round out the Australian tilt.

World No.1 Rory McIlroy, chasing a career grand slam, was one under through 17 holes and 14-time major champion Tiger Woods one over through six.

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