April 11, 2021, 12:37 p.m. ET
When the 2020 Masters, delayed by coronavirus pandemic, was played last November, the course was not in its usual springtime shape, as Bill Pennington and Alan Blinder reported. The golfers ran amok, and Dustin Johnson won with a score of 20 under par, the largest margin of victory in the history of the tournament, with 43 players finishing under par.
What a difference a season makes. Here’s what happened in the first three rounds this week:
On Thursday, the course had its way with the field, with only 11 golfers finishing under par. Justin Rose was an outlier, shooting a seven-under-par 65, and led after the first round. Only Rose, Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama shot below 70.
On Friday, the fan favorite Jordan Spieth, who has been waging a steady comeback and won his first tournament since 2017 the previous week at the Texas Valero Open, turned in an excellent round, a four-under-par 68. He was just two strokes behind Rose, the second-round leader. In a bit of a shock, Johnson, the defending champion, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy all failed to make the cut.
A 78-minute rain delay set up a remarkable run up the leaderboard by Matsuyama. The 29-year-old Japanese star shot 65 to enter Sunday’s final round 11 under par. Four golfers were tied for second: Rose, Xander Schauffele, Marc Leishman and the Masters rookie Will Zalatoris.