2017 MASTERS: Johnson withdraws, Hoffman leads at a wind swept Augusta

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The Australians have had a poor start to the 2017 Masters after blustery conditions affected all but one golfer at Augusta National.

Charley Hoffman looked like he was playing a different golf course to everyone else on the opening day of the 2017 Masters Tournament. As the field struggled in the difficult conditions at Augusta National, Charley Hoffman’s golf ball looked impervious to the strong winds.

After an up-and-down start to the day Hoffman walked off Augusta with nine birdies on his card, including a birdie at every par-3 thanks after hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation and needing just 25 putts. Hoffman’s 7-under par 65 was simply remarkable in the conditions.

Earlier in the day all the talk was on the withdrawal of world number one and pre-tournament favourite Dustin Johnson. Reportedly Johnson took a fall on Wednesday while moving a car at his nearby rental home, injuring his back in the process.

Johnson was out on course prior to the opening round but after attempting a few swings, quickly left the practise range, stopping by reporters on the way out of Augusta National.

“I’m playing the best golf of my life and to have a freak accident happen yesterday afternoon, it sucks really bad,” said Johnson. “I have been worked on all morning and obviously I can take some swings, but I can’t swing full, I can’t make my normal swing and I didn’t think there was any chance I could compete.”

The best of the Australians on day one was Victorian Marc Leishman who finished the day 1-over the card, eight shots behind Hoffman. Leishman got off to a good start with birdie at the par-5 second hole but made bogey at the closing hole on each nine.

Jason Day and Rod Pampling are just a shot behind Leishman on 2-over par. Adam Scott bogeyed three of his final four holes to finish 3-over par and amateur Curtis Luck had a tough start to his first Masters Tournament carding a 6-over par 78.

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