The start of the 88th Masters was delayed by two and a half hours on Thursday due to bad weather at Augusta National.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen had been due to hit the opening tee shot at 8am local time (1300BST) but rain was already falling when tournament officials announced at 5am that play would not get under way on time.

Play was initially delayed by at least an hour and, although most of the worst thunderstorms looked to have skirted the area, it was subsequently announced that play would start at 1030 local time (1530GMT).

Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson were scheduled to kick off proceedings by each hitting a tee shot on the first hole 20 minutes earlier.

GOLF Masters
(PA Graphics)

The delay meant the first round would not be completed on schedule, with the last group of Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa and Tommy Fleetwood not teeing off until 1630 local time.

Fleetwood, who had been drawn in the final group in round one for the second successive year, had taken on weather monitoring duties in the absence of long-time caddie Ian Finnis, who is recovering from illness back in England.

“I generally wake up and take the weather for what it is, just go out and play with the conditions we get, but I’ve heard the forecast is pretty bad,” Fleetwood said.

“The conditions are going to play a part in how the golf course plays and what happens there, so we’ll see.”

Pre-tournament favourite Scottie Scheffler will partner Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele in the first two rounds, with the star trio now due to tee off at 1312 local time (1812BST).

Defending champion Jon Rahm gets his attempt to join Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo in winning back-to-back Masters titles under way in the preceding group alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Nick Dunlap.