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Collin Morikawa found himself in the middle of a mini-controversy in the first round of the Masters on Thursday.
At the sixth green, Morikawa was seen placing the ball a couple of inches ahead of his marker, before then moving the marker just behind the ball at that spot.
Footage of Morikawa moving the ball quickly went viral on social media, sparking a debate if it was within the rules or not. On the ESPN broadcast too, there was confusion.
“Do you see what I saw there with the mark?” one announcer said.
“I’m not sure what I really saw,” another replied.
But, when asked about it after his round by a journalist, Morikawa seemed unperturbed by the suggestion that he had cheated.
“With the marker like this far behind,” Morikawa said. “Because I threw it down because I was going to throw the marker back. I’m not fine. There’s no rules official. You guys are freaking me out here. I’m going to get hunted down.”
The golfer was unaware of the storm he had kicked up and had a surprised reaction when told about how the footage of him moving the ball had gone viral. “So they what?” Morikawa said. “Good. Bring that PIP up. Blow me up, guys.”
Ultimately, the world number 12 wasn’t docked any strokes and finished on tied for 13th after shooting a three under 69 on the first round. He had a birdie on the second and seventh holes and his only bogey of the round came on the 13th.
Five-time champion Tiger Woods, competing in his 25th Masters, struggled to a 74 in the first round and was comprehensively outscored by his playing partners Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele. Hovland sits level atop the leaderboard after scoring 65 while Schauffele finished on 68.
But day one belonged to Jon Rahm who staged a remarkable comeback after four-putting the first to finish on 65, with an eagle and seven birdies. Brooks Koepka also shares the lead.
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