The Masters: Tiger shoots 71 in return, Sungjae Im leads after round one

By Sports Desk April 07, 2022

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Sungjae Im who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

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    Chun In-gee shot a three-under 69 on Friday to extend her leading score at the Women's PGA Championship to 11 under – six strokes better than anyone else through two rounds.

    The South Korean, who is a two-time major winner, led by five strokes after the first round, and extended that by one more with five birdies and two bogeys in her second trip around the course. In doing so, she is the only player to shoot both rounds in the 60s.

    Leading the chasing pack at five under is Australian Lydia Ko and American Jennifer Kupcho, with Ko's 67 tying for Friday's round of the day along with Lexi Thompson.

    Thompson sits in a tie for ninth at three under, along with recent U.S. Open winner Minjee Lee and China's Xiyu Lin.

    Heading into the weekend there are 26 women below par, including representatives from Thailand, Northern Ireland, Japan, Finland, England and South Africa.

  • Xander Schauffele leads by five strokes after second round of Travelers Championship Xander Schauffele leads by five strokes after second round of Travelers Championship

    Xander Schauffele shot his second consecutive 63 to head into the weekend at the Travelers Championship at 14 under – five strokes clear of the chasing pack.

    Remarkably, Schauffele is yet to post a bogey in the tournament, with 14 birdies and 22 pars through his 36 holes.

    He started beautifully in his second trip around TPC River Highlands, birdieing three of his first five holes, and capped off his round by birdieing the picturesque 17th hole for the second day in a row.

    Schauffele was one stroke behind J.T. Poston and Rory McIlroy after Thursday's action, and tied for the round of the day on Friday along with Harold Varner III.

    At 14 under, Schauffele has tied the TPC River Highlands 36-hole record, and it ties him with Justin Rose back in 2010 for the lowest 36-hole score at the Travelers Championship since 1984.

    The five-man group tied for second place at nine under is made up of Americans Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Nick Hardy and Kevin Kisner, as well as Australia's Cam Davis. Hardy and Kisner were the pick of that group on Friday, shooting 64s.

    McIlroy and Poston sit one shot further back at eight under after the first-round leaders both shot even-par 70s, and are joined at eight under by a group including Lee Kyoung-hoon and Matthew NeSmith.

    Webb Simpson is at seven under, rounding out the top-20, along with Michael Thorbjornsen, who is the only amateur to make the cut after rounds of 68 and 65.

    World number one Scottie Scheffler is at five under, along with Varner, with the pair taking very different routes to that number. Scheffler has been consistent, with a 68 and a 67, while Varner has been the opposite, following his opening 72 with a 63.

    With the cut-line at two under, Danny Willett and Mito Pereira were two of the players to miss out on the weekend despite being under par, while Sam Burns finished his week even, Jordan Spieth was one over, and the talented duo of Rickie Fowler and Joaquinn Neimann were at three over.

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    The Chinese 26-year-old tied the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried course record with a score of 10 under par on Thursday, taking a one-shot lead into the clubhouse after two eagles in the final four holes.

    Li will now also head into the third day in pole position, after overcoming two bogeys on the first seven holes to get himself to 15 under par.

    He has not won a DP World Tour title since 2018, when he triumphed at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, but now has a real chance of lifting the trophy after an impressive first two rounds.

    "It's another good day in the office. I'm feeling great," Li told reporters. "I think I've only missed two cuts so far this year, so it's been working especially off the tee.

    "For sure I'm already feeling the pressure. Hopefully I can play my golf and keep calm. To be honest I didn't drive as well as yesterday, but my short game is quite okay.

    "When you get in the rough, the lie could be really bad or could be good. Sometimes you just need luck."

    His closest challenger is Ryan Fox, who is just one shot behind after going around in 64 and is chasing a third DP World Tour win.

    Play was suspended for around two hours because of the threat of lightning, and Fox brought the thunder when he stormed the back nine with four birdies. 

    It was not enough to pip Li to the lead though heading into what promises to be an enthralling weekend.

    Daan Huizing is just three shots off the lead, while Thomas Pieters' second round of 64 leaves him four back alongside Jordan Smith, with Maximilian Kieffer five shots off the leader.

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