Masters 2023 live updates: Brooks Koepka going low again, Rory McIlroy is not, and an ominous forecast looms

The narrative for the Thursday’s opening round of the 2023 Masters was that you needed to go low to give yourself a cushion with the ominous weather forecast in store for the next few days. And, indeed, several players heeded said advice: Major champions Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka made it look was with their opening 65s—hell, Rahm even spotted the field with a double bogey on the first hole. They were joined by Viktor Hovland.

Yet the flip side of the cold and rain that appears to be barreling down on Augusta National is that those guys that who 65s could just as easily bounce back with 79s. So the traditional belief, proved by years of stats, that you need to be within the top five on Masters Thursday to be wearing a green jacket on Masters Sunday might actually be stress tested by conditions that will be anything but traditional.

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Here’s what we mean by the ominous forecast. The Masters weather report as of 5 a.m. on Friday morning.

So this maybe bodes well for a guy like Rory McIlroy, who shot a pedestrian 72, starts Round 2 seven off the lead and might have too much ground to make up in an ordinary year.

I guess what we’re saying is it appears anything can happen in the next three days. Thankfully we’re all ready to hang out here and find out.

12:51 p.m.: It seems quiet, but there’s oddly a lot going on right now. Brooks Koepka is walking up the 18th fairway leading the tournament at 12 under par, three shots ahead of Jason Day. Tiger Woods is on the first tee, where he’s going off in just a few minutes. He’s right on the cut line at two over par, meaning he’ll need to shoot something around even-par to make the weekend. Weather, of course, is likely to have something to say about it all. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson is three-under overall and tied for 15th place with only two holes remaining. He will easily make the cut. 

12:43 p.m.: Scottie Scheffler just four-putted the par-4 ninth, playing alongside the amateur Sam Bennett, who made birdie. Scheffler’s approach ended 30 feet from the pin. He putted it four feet by, missed that and putted it five feet by. Missed that, then tapped in for double-bogey 6. He’s two over on the day and tied for 19th place at two under, 10 shots off the lead.

12:41 p.m.: Jason Day has now made birdie on three of his last five holes to get to four under on the day and nine-under overall. He’s only three shots behind Brooks Koepka. Day birdies Nos. 9, 11 and 13 and obviously still faces a good birdie opportunity at the par-5 15th hole, which Koepka has already played. With bad weather expected this afternoon these guys are loving it.

12:38 p.m.: Amateur Sam Bennett continues to impress. After making his first bogey of the week on his 22nd hole, he’s now rattled off birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to sit in fifth place at six under par. His approach on the par-4 ninth hole ended three feet. 

12:34 p.m.: Larry Mize, the 1987 Masters champion, begins the second round, his last as a competitor at the Masters. Watch this terrific video from the tournament below. “This is a story about a Georgia boy, who loved the Masters.”

12:22 p.m.: Koepka has the lowest round going on the golf course at five under, but K.H. Lee is at four under today after an opening 74 on Thursday. After 14 holes, Lee has six birdies and two bogeys. He’s tied for 18th place. 

12:16 p.m.: Brooks Koepka left and eagle putt inches short on the par-5 15th hole. It was an easy birdie and he’s played the four par 5s today in five under. He’s five under on the day, 12-under overall and leading Jason Day by four shots.

12:11 p.m.: Jason Day is Brooks Koepka’s closest competitor, having just chipped in for birdie on the difficult par-4 11th hole to get to eight-under overall. He’s only three shots behind. 

11:58 a.m.: Weather still expected to come in mid-afternoon. Here are the afternoon tee times among the leaders: Viktor Hovland (-7) 12:54 p.m., Jon Rahm (-7) 1:18 p.m., Cameron Young (-5) 1:18 p.m., Shane Lowry (-4) 12:18 p.m., Xander Schauffele (-4) 12:54 p.m., Adam Scott (-4) 1:06 p.m.

11:56 a.m.: The career Grand Slam will have to wait another year. Rory McIlroy just three-putted the sixth to move to 3 over on the day and 3-over total. He’s now 14 shots behind Brooks Koepka before noon on Friday. 

11:46 a.m.: Brooks Koepka just made birdie on the par-5 13th to get to four under on the day and 11 under overall. He’s four under on the three pars 5s that he’s played today and, obviously, even par on everything else. He leads by four shots.

11:42 a.m.: Top-five update: Koepka (-10), Day, Hovland and Rahm (-7), Morikawa, Spieth, and Young (-5). Seven big names all in contention. Would not be a surprise to see any of them win.

11:40 a.m.: Phil Mickelson update. Lefty is playing a normal round of golf, which is not normal for him around Augusta National. An opening 71 was nuts, but so far, after 11 holes he’s even par with two birdies and a double bogey. He’s at one-under total, and looking to play the weekend if he can get through these next few holes relatively unscathed. IF. 

11:34 a.m.: Defending Masters champ Scottie Scheffler is in a bit of a lull here after six holes of his second round. He opened with a bogey and then made five consecutive pars, having to make a par save from outside six feet on the sixth hole. Good news is that he’s tied for 13th early in this tournament, but he’s at three under and seven shots off the lead.

11:20 a.m.: Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth is right in the thick of it after birdies on Nos. 2 and 3, the same two that Rory McIlroy bogeyed. He got up and down from just in front of the green on the second, then made birdie from 15 feet on the third. He’s at five under and only five shots behind Brooks Koepka.

11:15 a.m.: Before lunch on Friday, Rory McIlroy stands 12 shots off the lead. TWELVE. He opened with 72 and how has made two bogeys in his first three holes to start Round 2. On the par-5 second hole he hit his third shot over the back of the green and the following chip did not make it onto the green either. He didn’t get up and in and made bogey. Then on the third hole he was short of the green, chipped it up and over the back, chipped it to six feet and missed it. Brutal.

11:04 a.m.: Well, the streak finally ended—amateur Sam Bennett made a bogey. After shooting a bogey-free 68 on Thursday he opened Friday with a birdie on the first, then rattled off two more pars. On the par-3 fourth hole his tee shot was long and left, he chipped it to 12 feet and miss the par put. Still, he’s four-under overall and tied for seventh place. Not. Too. Shabby. 

10:55 a.m.: Koepka burns the edge on the 10th hole with a makeable birdie look … after missing a makeable birdie on the ninth as well. Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland, the first-round co-leaders with Brooks who are still waiting to tee off, actually have to feel lucky they’re only going to be starting three back.

10:35 a.m.: Forget the top of the leaderboard for a minute. Let’s looks down a little to about 50th place or so, and the question of who might be on the bubble to make or miss the cut. Datagolf.com right now says there’s a 41 percent chance it comes in at one-over 145 and a 37.2 percent chance it goes to two-over 146. Now … that can change radically if the weather does come in in the afternoon, but it’s important to note when you consider Tiger Woods will start his second round at two over. He’s made the cut in 22 straight Masters appearance and a 23rd would tie him for the all-time record with Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples.

For more on how they determine the 36-hole cut at the Masters, click here.

10:22 a.m.: OK … Brooks Koepka is done spinning his wheels. On the par-5 eighth, he belts a driver, gets on the green in two and rolls in a 13-footer for his second career eagle on the hole. He jumps to 10 under, three-shots in the lead.

And a little context for what Brooks is doing so far:

10:15 a.m.: A birdie on the first home by Sam Bennett now jumps him to five under for the tournament and three off the lead. He started his first round yesterday birdie-eagle as well. Just a reminder: The last time an amateur finished in the top 15 was Ryan Moore back in 2005 (T-13) with the last top 10 coming in 1962.

If you didn’t hear about Bennett’s story of losing his father as he was starting college at Texas A&M, have a peek at this video.

10:12 a.m.: Brooks Koepka has been making some nice pars on the last few holes, but those behind him are starting to catch up. Jason Day stands at seven under, one shot back, after a birdie-par stretch on the third and fourth holes.

10:03 a.m.: A sneaky good group to follow on Friday just teed off. Scottie Scheffler, the defending champion, quietly shot a four-under 68 on Thursday. Not a bad way to try to win back the green jacket. But he was matched in the same group by U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett, who did something no amateur had done in 30 years at the Masters (as our Joel Beall documented) by posting a bogey-free round. Can either of these two keep it going on Friday?

9:51 a.m.: Rory McIlroy is on the practice range ahead of his 10:12 a.m. tee time. Raise your hand if you thought McIlroy would shoot better than a even-par 72 on Thursday? (Come on, put them up!) We know McIlroy’s slow starts are as much a part of his Augusta legacy as the way he blew up on the back nine in 2011. But given his form coming into the week, and the fact that he just feels like somebody finally prepared to rid his Masters demons, the start was just … well … surprising.

9:40 a.m.: OK … now we’re starting to see a little more movement from players other than Koepka on the leaderboard. Jason Day makes a birdie on the second hole to get to six under par. His opening-round 67 matched his best first-round score in his 11 previous Masters appearances.

9:25 a.m.: Just sticking this here for future reference today:

9:14 a.m.: We’d be remiss to not acknowledge that there are others playing at Augusta this morning. Including Gary Woodland, who is paired with Brooks and is one under for the day and five under for the tournament. And if you’re at Augusta today, you won’t be able to miss him with his outfit today:

9:07: a.m: The strategy on short par-4 third hole was debated a bit on Twitter on Thursday, with Colt Knost’s commentary on Masters.com scruitinized—and Knost actually clapping back while doing the broadcast!

Koepka chose to use driver off the tee, but then gave himself a tricky wedge that he flew the green with. His chip ran seven feet by the hole, but Koepka calmly poured in the par putt to stay at eight under.

8:52 a.m.: Koepka birdies the second hole to take the outright lead at eight under. And right now Augusta National is playing the easiest it might play all week—no wind and cool conditions so the course isn’t too firm. Koepka is liable to go run and hide here.

8:41 a.m.: More required reading about Brooks Koepka: our Shane Ryan put his opening-round 65 in perspective after watching Koepka’s surprising reveals in Netflix “Full Swing” episode that he was the main character of.

And then there was this story that Koepka shared on Thursday and our Stephen Hennessey detailed … maybe too closely.

8:32 a.m.: Brooks Koepka is off and running, with a fairway, a slightly missed green, two-putt par to start his second round. More importantly, he looks like the Brooks Koepka of odd, with that 1,000 yard stare that hints you don’t really want to mess with him. 

8:11 a.m.: As we wait for Brooks Koepka to start his second round, it’s worth looking bad at a bit of a controversy he was involved in on Thursday. It happened on the par-5 15th hole, after Koepka hit his second shot safely on the green. Camera caught Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott, mouthing the word “five” as if to indicate “5-iron” was the club Koepka used, and Elliott seemed to be looking in the direction of Gary Woodland’s caddie when saying it. Giving advice is a no-no in the Rules of Golf, so tournament officials question Koepka and Woodland after the round. When they determined that no advice was actually given at the time, the committee cleared Koepka of any wrong doing and his seven-under 65 stood.

Our Luke Kerr-Dineen has a very good break down of the situation, along with another rules flap from the day involving Collin Morikawa, right here.

Here’s what Brooks had to say about it: ”We looked at it when we got back in. [Gary Woodland] and [Gary Woodland’s caddie] had no idea what we were hitting; they didn’t even know—I know that fact because [Woodland] asked me what we hit walking off, when we were walking down.”

The incident was still buzzworthy after the round with Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee and Paul McGinley both not buying the outcome after seeing the video of Elliott.

7:45 a.m.: For a sense of place as we get ready for the round, here is the leader board entering the day:

Intriguing of course is that Brooks Koepka jumps out pretty quickly this morning with an 8:18 a.m. time. Gives him the best shot among the leaders to play with the best weather.

7:32 a.m.: And the second round is underway with Jose Maria Olazabal and Cameron Champ off on the first tee. Yep you heard it right. While the original schedule called for Friday’s play to begin at 8 a.m., Masters officials decided given the forecast to move all tee times ahead a half hour to try to get in as much play before the bad stuff arrives.

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