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Who were the biggest surprises on Thursday at the Masters?

By Shane Bacon | Blogger
Patrick Cantlay signals to the crowd on his way to an opening round 71 at Augusta National. (Getty Images)

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The first round of the Masters always brings some good and bad from the best players in the world, so which made our first round list? Check it out.

The Good

Peter Hanson, 4 under 68 -- The big Swede has played in the Masters exactly one time, missing the cut a year ago and has had success in just one major ever, last year's U.S. Open. That didn't stop him from going out and posting a 4 under 68.

Paul Lawrie, 3 under 69 -- You've seen his name before. You know you've seen it. But where the heck have you seen it? Well Lawrie, who shot an opening round 69 that included two eagles on his back nine, was the 1999 British Open champion after the collapse by Jean Van de Velde. A lot of people say he was given that Claret Jug, but Lawrie still had to beat out both Van de Velde and Justin Leonard in that playoff at Carnoustie, and he has six other European Tour victories to his credit. His last win, coming in early February , was at the weather-shortened Qatar Masters, that Lawrie won by four over Jason Day and Peter Hanson.

How shocking was the solid round by Lawrie? Well, very. The 43-year-old Scot has played in five previous Masters, making just two cuts, and hasn't been at Augusta National since '04. Didn't matter when you make two eagles. That almost always helps.

Patrick Cantlay, 1 under 69 -- The UCLA amateur is a stud in the making, but he's not supposed to be playing this good. Cantlay was 2 under heading into 18 and despite making a bogey, was still able to sneak away with round in red figures.

The Bad

Phil Mickelson, 2 over 74 -- In Lefty's three wins at the Masters, he's posted a par or better score to open the tournament, so it might be an understatement to say he has his work cut out for him. Standing on the 10th tee playing decent golf, Mickelson hit a drive so far left they couldn't find it, ending up making a triple-bogey. He clawed back, with three birdies over his last six holes, but a 74 in those conditions is going to make for a lot of birdies over the next 54 holes if he wants another green jacket.

Luke Donald, 3-over 75 -- A lot of people picked him to win the whole thing, but he's got a lot of work to do on a mild Augusta National after the eight-ball he put himself behind on Thursday.

How loose was Donald's play? He needed three birdies just to post a 75. Much work for the world No. 1 on Friday just to make the weekend.

K.J. Choi, 5-over 77 -- The last two years, Choi has finished in the top-10 and always looks solid at Augusta National, and you would have thought much of the same after a few holes on Thursday.

That was, until the 9th hole, when Choi made a double-bogey, and played the final 10 holes six over to shoot 77. It was the second highest score K.J. has ever shot at the Masters, and looks like unless a miracle happens on Friday, won't be making the cut.

 
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