Hoffman opens with 65 to lead Masters

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Augusta, April 6:  Charley Hoffman opened with a superb seven-under-par 65 to take a four-shot lead over fellow American William McGirt after the opening round of the Masters.

Hoffman, 40, made nine birdies (4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17) in tough conditions as strong winds swirled through Augusta National. His four-stroke lead is the largest at the Masters after 18 holes since 1955, when Jack Burke led by the same margin over Julius Boros.

Former World No 1 Lee Westwood made five straight birdies from 13 to 17 to post a two-under 70 and keep himself in the hunt for a first Major.

Only eight other players broke par, including three-time winner Phil Mickelson, Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia.

Current World No 1 Dustin Johnson was forced to withdraw after injuring his back in fall at his rented house in Augusta a day earlier.

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