Providing live updates and tracking Tiger Woods and all the other big names at the year's first major, The Masters at Augusta National. 

By Daniel Rapaport
April 05, 2018

Finally, Masters Thursday is here. 

The year's first major gets underway today at Augusta National, and it's one of the most hyped golf tournaments in recent memory. That's mostly because of the presence of one specific golfer: Tiger Woods. Woods is making his first start at Augusta since 2015 and playing in his first major championship since taking a year off to have spinal fusion surgery. 

But Tiger isn't the only draw to Augusta this year, as a number of the game's other stars are playing well. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson are a few of the multitude of other players who will like their chances. 

You can follow the leaderboard live here.

We also have pieces to get you up-to-speed ahead of Thursday's opening round. Michael Rosenberg previewed this year's tournament. Tim Layden wrote a personal essay about his first trip to Augusta in his 30+ year career as a sports journalist. We answered some of the biggest questions about the Masters earlier this week. 

7:15 p.m. - Final group finishes up

The final group of Dustin Johnson, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Justin Rose just finished up at the 18th. Johnson fired +1, Rose was even par, and Cabrera Bello posted three-under. In the end, 20 players finished under par, but everyone is looking up at Jordan Spieth's six-under 66.

Check out our leaderboard to see how all the big names fared. 

That concludes our live-blog from day one at the Masters. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you again tomorrow. 

7:01 p.m. - Spieth avoids disaster to post 66, McIlroy in at 69

Jordan Spieth made a fifth birdie in a row on 17 to get to -7 and looked poised to take a three- or four-shot lead into Friday. He promptly snap-hooked a driver into the trees left of 18, then was forced to chip out to the very front of the fairway. That left a 250+-yard approach for his third, which he tugged left of the green. He then hit a nifty pitch that stopped about three rolls short of going in. A routine bogey for a six-under 66, and he'll sleep on a two-shot lead. 

Rory McIlroy made a number of key par saves coming in and reached the clubhouse at three under 69. 

6:26 p.m. - Spieth could take a multi-shot lead into Friday

Remember when Jordan Spieth seized control of the 2015 Masters with an opening-round 64? Thursday's round might not be quite as spectacular, but it certainly brought that round to mind. Spieth made his fourth consecutive birdie at the par-3 16th and is now six under, two shots clear of Finau. 

Elsewhere, Rickie Fowler has made three straight birdies to get to -2 and Matt Kuchar has, in typical Kuchar fashion, quietly reached -3. That group is going along really nicely, as Phil Mickelson is also -2 heading to 18. 

5:57 p.m. - Spieth on top, Rory rolling, Finau posts 68

Stop me if you've heard this before: Jordan Spieth is on top of the leaderboard at Augusta National. The 24-year-old made back-to-back birdies at 12 and 14 to get to -4 and still has another par 5 ahead. Tony Finau became the first player to post 68 with a tidy up-and-in on 18. Again, difficult to overstate how impressive that round of golf was when you consider that he might have dislocated his ankle in humiliating fashion on Thursday. 

Rory McIlroy has kicked it into gear. He's -2, bombed a drive at the par-5 15th and has just 199 yards into the par-5. When he's driving the ball this well, this course is a par-68 for him at most. 

5:32 p.m. - Here comes Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth has that look in his eye. The 2015 champion narrowly missed his eagle putt at the 13th and now sits at -3, just one shot off the lead. His putting stroke looks free and fluid, and he looks like he'll be a factor throughout this week.

The lead is held by Tony Finau at -4 as of right now, as Haotong Li became the fourth player to bogey the 18th after entering the hole -4. No one has been able to post 68 just yet.

It's quite the turnaround for Finau from yesterday, when it seemed unlikely that he'd even tee it up. 

Rory McIlroy is also going along quite nicely. He picked up a birdie at 13 to get to -2 and should be able to hit a mid-iron at most into the par-5 15th should fhe find the fairway. Phil Mickelson is even par through 14, but he too will like his chances to pick up a shot at 15. Rose, Fowler and Rahm are all +1, while Dustin Johnson is +2.

5:01 p.m. - Haotong Li the new leader, amateur Doug Ghim makes two eagles

Haotong Li, a 22-year-old form China who shot 63 in the final round of last year's British Open, is alone on top of the leaderboard at -4 after making five birdies in six holes. He's one shot ahead of Stenson, Hoffman, Hadwin, Finau and Reed.

How about this for a Masters debut? Doug Ghim, the 2017 U.S. Amateur runner-up, made two eagles on the back nine to shoot even-par 72. He made one conventional eagle at the par-5 13th then holed out from 179 yards for a 2 on 18. Certainly a day he will never forget.  

4:39 p.m. - Finau leads by himself, update on key names

Tony Finau, who was the butt of more than a few jokes after he turned his ankle while celebrating a hole-in-one in the Par 3 Contest on Friday, is now the solo leader at -4. Charley Hoffman, Henrik Stenson and Adam Hadwin all came to 18 at -4 but all made bogey. 

Update on some big names: 

Henrik Stenson -3 (F)
Patrick Reed -3 (F)
Jordan Spieth -2 (10)
Rory McIlroy -1 (10)
Tommy Fleetwood E (F)
Rickie Fowler E (10)
Matt Kuchar E (11)
Bubba Watson +1 (F)
Phil Mickelson +1 (11)
Jon Rahm +1 (10)
Dustin Johnson +2 (9)

4:12 p.m. - Spieth eagles 8, Hadwin joins the leaders

Jordan Spieth smoked a 3-wood from 276 yards to reach the par-5 8th in two. He emphatically drained his 14-foot eagle putt to get to -2. Spieth's putter looks solid early, which hasn't always been the case so far this season. 

Canada's Adam Hadwin has joined Stenson and Hoffman at -4. He has one more hole to play. 

One of the better traditions at Augusta is the older past champions who get to tee it up for as many years as they please. Fred Couples, the 1992 champion has played well at Augusta even past his 50th birthday, holed his bunker shot on 12 for birdie, and 1988 champ Sandy Lyle eagled 15 to get back to even par. 

3:47 p.m. - Tiger finishes at +1, Hoffman joins Stenson at -4

Tiger made routine pars at 17 and 18 to finish at one-over 73. It's not an ideal opening round, but it looks a lot better when you consider how bad things look at one point. Tiger stood over a 20-footer for bogey at 12 and it looked like he'd drop to +4, but he dropped that one then birdied 14 and 16 to get back to +1. He'll need a lower one tomorrow, but not a terrible start. 

Charley Hoffman on top of the leaderboard on Thursday at a major: it's like clockwork. The famously fast starter has joined Henrik Stenson at -4 atop the leaderboard. Mickelson, McIlroy, Spieth and Fowler are all even par as they head toward the turn. 

3:24 p.m. - Say it ain't so, Sergio! Tiger bouncing back

The defending champion at Augusta, Sergio Garcia, just ended his tournament on one hole. Garcia came to the par-5 15th at +2 and tried to get to the green in two, but his approach found the water. So did his next shot. And his next one. And the one after that. And one more in the water. He then got up-and-down for an eight-over par 13. He's now +10. 

Tiger Woods, on the other hand, might just salvage this round. He didn't birdie 13 or 15 but did birdie 14 and 16 and has about 15 feet to at 17 to get all the way back to even par. 

Jordan Spieth is -1 through 5, McIlroy -1 through 6, Mickelson +1 through 7. 

3:07 p.m. - Stenson takes the lead, Tiger birdie-less on par 5's, Finau to -2

Henrik Stenson rolled in a birdie at the 13th to take the solo lead at -4 but then dropped a shot at 14 and is now -3. Marc Leishman, who had led for the past two hours or so, went long of the par-5 15th then bladed his chip into the water. When all was said and done, the Aussie made a double-bogey 7. 

On that same par 5, Tiger Woods blocked his drive way right and was forced to lay up with his second. His third left about 30 feet and his birdie effort was short. That means Tiger will not birdie any of the four par 5s on Thursday. Throughout the years, he has dominated those four holes and will rue the missed scoring opportunities. 

Tony Finau's ankle seems ay-okay. He is now -2 through 8, as is Jordan Spieth. 

2:45 p.m. - Bounce back birdie for Tiger, Spieth -2 through 3, Wiesberger posts 70

That's more like it, Tiger. Woods found the fairway with a 3-wood then hit a beautiful approach into a difficult pin at the par-4 14th. His birdie putt snuck in the left side and he's back to +2 with a par 5 up next. 

Jordan Spieth is off to a nice start–the 2015 Masters champion is -2 after 3 after back-to-back birdies. Bernd Wiesberger is now the clubhouse leader with a two-under 70. 

2:25 p.m. - Leishman to -4, Tiger lets another par 5 slip by, JT going along nicely

Marc Leishman found the fairway with his drive at the par-5 13th then hit an approach to the middle of the green and two putted for birdie. He's now -4 and one shot in front of Henrik Stenson. Leishman is playing really solid and has had little stress thus far. 

Tiger has now failed to birdie the three par 5's he's played. He pushed a three wood off the tee at 13 then layed up well right. A nice wedge shot left about 12 feet for birdie but he missed on the high side, as he has multiple times today. He remains at +3, already 7 strokes back of the lead. 

Phil made a bogey at the par-5 2nd after an errant drive but bounced back with a birdie at 3. McIlroy is also -1 through 2, and Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose both parred the first hole. 

World No. 2 Justin Thomas is now -1 through 12 after making a birdie at the short par 3. He has two par 5's ahead of him on the back nine and is in good position to post a solid opening-round score. 

2:03 p.m. - Another bogey for Tiger, Tony Finau -1 through 4, Dustin/Rose pairing underway

Woods ended up making bogey at 11 then made a terrible swing at the short par-3 12th and found the water short of the green. His third shot was short of the green but he found a way to roll that bogey putt in to avoid a complete disaster. He is now +3 through 12, though he does have two par-5's upcoming. 

Tony Finau made headlines for the wrong reasons on Wednesday when he badly turned his ankle while celebrating a hole in one in the Par 3 Contest. He's apparently feeling well enough to play this week and is -1 through 4 after a birdie at the tough par-3 4th. Nice to see that hiccup not derail his entire week. 

The group of Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Rafa Cabrera-Bello just teed off one. 

1:51 p.m. - Phil drops a bomb at 1, Spieth and McIlroy underway, Tiger gets unlucky

Phil Mickelson dropped in a 30+ foot putt at the first for birdie then promptly drove it way right on the par-5 2nd, forcing him to hit a right-handed layup. Which he pulled off. Classic Phil. Rory McIlroy bombed a drive over the bunker at one at converted his birdie attempt. Ideal start. Jordan Spieth found the fairway with his opening drive. 

Tiger, for one, got a bit unlucky with the gallery. After pushing his drive way right into the trees at 11, he asked the patrons to move so he could hit a low hook around the trees. He hit it low but the ball struck a group of patrons and stopped 100 yards short of the hole. He is in danger of making another bogey and dropping to +2. 

1:36 p.m. - Phil/Rickie/Kuchar pairing underway, Tiger gets up and down for par at 10

The marquee pairing of Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar are now underway in round 1. Mickelson's drive finished in a fairway bunker while Fowler and Kuchar both found the fairway. 

Tiger hit another perfect drive at 10 but hit a loose iron shot that was lucky not to fall into the right greenside bunker. His chip was less than stellar but rolled out to about three feet, and he was able to knock that in to stay at +1. That's becoming a bit of a pattern—perfect drives that he's not taking advantage of. Some loose iron shots, some missed short ones. 

Here's an update on some notable names:

Marc Leishman -3 (10)
Henrik Stenson -2 (8)
Patrick Reed -1 (7)
Hideki Matsuyama E (11)
Tommy Fleetwood E (+1)
Bubba Watson +1 (8)
Justin Thomas +1 (9)
Paul Casey +2 (11)
Sergio Garcia +2 (9)

1:20 p.m. - Vijay bounces back, Stenson to -2, Tiger turns in 37

Vijay Singh made two bogeys to drop to -1 but bounced back with birdies at 11 and 13 to get back to -3 and join Marc Leishman in th lead. Henrik Stenson is now -2 through 7, while Tiger made a ho-hum par to turn in one-over 37. 

1:01 p.m. - Another missed par-5 opportunity for Tiger, Ted Potter Jr. on an unreal streak

Another missed opportunity for Tiger, who looks to be a bit frustrated out there. Woods pounded a driver down the middle on the par-5 8th then hooked his approach short and left of the green into the rough. His chip shot left about 30 feet for birdie and he had to knock in about a five-footer for par. On both par 5's on the front, Tiger found the middle of the fairway but could not make birdie. That is less than ideal, and he faces the difficult 9-11 stretch now. 

How about Ted Potter Jr.! The mini-tour legend who won earlier this year at Pebble Beach looked to be headed for a missed cut when he made a double bogey on 11 to drop to +5. He then birdied 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 to get all the way back to even par. 

12:37 p.m. - Leishman to -3, Tiger narrowly misses long birdie attempt

You often hear of players being bothered by the attention that comes with playing with Tiger Woods. Apparently no one told Marc Leishman. The 34-year-old Australian managed another birdie at 7 to get to -3 and he leads by two. 

Tiger found the fairway with a three wood on 7 and hit his approach long and left of the flag. His long birdie attempt slid just by leaving a straightforward par putt, which he converted. The par-5 8th is next. 

Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson are both -1 on the front nine, while Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson are even par. 

12:21 p.m. - Another short miss for Tiger, settles for par on 6

Needing to right the ship after back-to-back bogeys, Tiger hit a beautiful iron shot into the par-3 and left himself a relatively straight-forward seven-footer for a bounce-back birdie. He once again missed on the low side, and that's three misses from inside 10 feet in the first six holes (for birdie on 2, for par on 5 and for par on 6).

On the seniors front, Mark O'Meara is now +4 through 9 and will likely not be heard from for the rest of the tournament. Singh, on the other hand, made the turn in one under. 

12:08 p.m. - Back-to-back bogeys for Tiger Woods, now +1 through 5

Tiger's tee shot on the dogleg-left 5th found a fairway bunker and left a blind approach. He managed to find the front right edge of the green but left himself a long putt with multiple breaks. His first putt ran out about eight feet past the hole and his par effort didn't have enough speed and finished on the low side. Back-to-back bogeys leaves him at one over par through 5 holes with the par-3 6th next. 

11:50 a.m. - Tiger bogeys 4, back to even, Bubba, Stenson and Day underway

Tiger loved his tee ball at the difficult par-3 4th, but it came up short in a bunker. He blasted out to about 15 feet but couldn't get the putt to drop. Leishman, on the other hand, converted his par putt to stay at -2. 

Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson are both even par through 3, while Jason Day is one over. 

11:32 a.m. - Tiger birdies 3, JT and Sergio into red numbers

Tiger pulled driver on the short par-4 third and pounded one right in front of the green, the hit a nifty chip to roughly 10 feet. He drained that one to get to -1 for the day. His playing partner, Marc Leishman, curled in a bending putt to get to -2 and tie the early lead. 

Justin Thomas and defending champion Sergio Garcia both birdied that par-5 2nd. As more of the marquee groups and better players tee off, we're seeing more birdies and more players under par. Which makes sense, of course. 

11:15 a.m. - Tiger can't take advantage of par-5 2nd, course playing difficult, Thomas and Garcia off safely

Tiger's drive on the par-5 2nd was 351 yards and right down the middle, but his iron approach found the bunker short and right of the green. That left a difficult long-bunker shot which he blasted out to roughly 10 feet and left a quick downhill putt. He did not convert and remains even par through 2. 

Again, it's early, but the course appears to be playing difficult early this morning. Of the 39 players on the course, only three are under par: Vijay Singh, Mark O'Meara and Marc Leishman. 

The marquee group of Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia and U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman all made par at the 1st. 

10:54 a.m. - Tiger scrambles for par, Vijay opens up a 3-shot lead

Tiger's tee ball off one finished in the left pine straw, a spot he's found pretty frequently over the years (there's out of bounds to the right). He hit a nice punch shot to the front of the green then hit a putt from 70-ish feet to within a foot for an easy par. 

Meanwhile, Vijay added another birdie at 4 to get to -3. It's super early, but he's the only player under par on the course and has a three-shot advantage. Quite the start for the Fijian. 

10:32 a.m. - Vijay Singh off to a hot start, Tiger off in 10 minutes

Vijay Singh, the 55-year-old 2000 Masters champion who plays mainly on the Champions Tour, is -2 through 3 holes and holds the early lead. The buzz is palpable as Tiger is finishing up his warmup and heading over to the first tee for one of the most anticipated tee shots in recent memory. 

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)