World No 1 Dustin paired with Bubba at Masters


AUGUSTA, Georgia – World No 1 Dustin Johnson will launch his bid for a maiden US Masters title in the company of twice champion Bubba Watson and PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker, in groupings announced on Tuesday.

Johnson, who has won his last three starts, will tee off in the final group at 2.03pm ET (8.03pm SA time) in Thursday’s opening round at Augusta National.

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Dustin Johnson hits his tee shot on the third during a practice round at Augusta National on Tuesday. Photo: Matt Slocum, APDefending Masters champion Danny Willett and caddie Jonathan Smart walk up the 12th hole at Augusta on Tuesday. Photo: Jonathan Ernst, ReutersLouis Oosthuizen lets rip on the second fairway at Augusta on Tuesday. Photo: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

World No 2 Rory McIlroy, who can complete the career grand slam of golf’s four majors with a win this week, will set off with red-hot Spaniard Jon Rahm and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara at 1.41pm.

Australian World No 3 Jason Day, who took a short break from golf as his mother had surgery in her battle with lung cancer, has been paired with England’s Justin Rose and American Brandt Snedeker.

The trio will set off at 10.56am local time, right behind gallery favourite and three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello and South Korea’s Kim Si-woo.

Defending champion Danny Willett will tee off alongside with Matt Kuchar and Australian amateur Curtis Luck.

Former champion Spieth, who was leading in the final round last year until falling apart by dropping six shots in three holes, will set off with Germany’s Martin Kaymer and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia’s bid for his maiden major title will open with England’s Lee Westwood, who finished runner-up here last year, and Ireland’s Shane Lowry.

In other groupings, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama will set off with Rickie Fowler and Scotland’s Russell Knox, while Swedish World No 5 Henrik Stenson was paired with twice major winner Angel Cabrera of Argentina and England’s Tyrrell Hatton.

Leading South African Branden Grace, who is ranked 20th in the world, will play with Brooks Koepka of the US and Jeunghun Wang of South Korea at 4.23pm SA time.

World No 28 Louis Oosthuizen is off at 3.06pm SA time on Thursday, and he is joined by American Zach Johnson and Adam Hadwin of Canada, while the 29th-ranked Charl Schwartzel will tee it up at 6.57pm SA time with Steve Stricker and Mackenzie Hughes.

Four-time major champion Ernie Els has been paired with Jason Dufner and Bernd Wiesberger at 6.13pm SA time.

First off at 8am following ceremonial tee shots by golfing greats Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will be Americans Daniel Summerhays and Russell Henley, who secured his Masters invite by winning in Houston on Sunday.

Groupings remain the same for the second round, though the tee times change, with those who play early on Thursday going out late on Friday, and vice-versa.

Reuters, Staff Writer

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