Brooks Koepka looked good as ever during the opening round at the Masters on Thursday, blasting his way into a three-way tie for the lead at 7-under. But his LIV Golf cohorts didn’t fare as well, and some played themselves completely out of contention after 18 holes.
Koepka was fantastic all day, notching eight birdies against one bogey. He was 4-under at the turn and finished 3-under on the back-nine. He sits in a tie with Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm, with Jason Day and Cameron Young lurking two shots back at 5-under. The rest of the LIV Golf group didn’t keep up.
Cameron Smith, winner of the 2022 Open Championship, finished 2-under, while Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann and Dustin Johnson were all 1-under. Talor Gooch, Abraham Ancer and Harold Varner III were at even par. And that was the end of the good news for the breakaway tour.
Louis Oosthuizen finished 4-over, but was 1-under until he double-bogeyed the seventh hole. He was 3-over on the back-nine to finish a really poor round that began with promise.
Bubba Watson tanked his round as well, finishing 5-over. Watson bogeyed the first and fourth holes, double-bogeyed the fifth and was 4-over in the blink of an eye. Then he birdied the sixth, double-bogeyed the seventh and birdied the eighth. It was a really weird front-nine. He had birdies on 12 and 13 to momentarily right the ship and get himself to 2-over, then he double-bogeyed 15 and bogeyed 17. Watson was all over the place on Thursday.
Kevin Na had a no good, very bad day. He was awful through nine holes and wound up withdrawing. He double-bogeyed the first hole, birdied the second, then had bogeys on the third, fifth and sixth holes. He birdied the eighth, then bogeyed the ninth. At 4-over he decided to call it quits before tackling the back nine.
Of the 18 LIV Golf members at the Masters, six ended up under-par in the opening round. The rest look to be far out of contention.