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Bubba Watson's bad Thursday bodes poorly for 2013 Masters repeat

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson had a bad day Thursday at Augusta. (Getty Images)
Bubba Watson had a no-good day during his first round at Augusta. (Getty Images)

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Bubba Watson became a major celebrity after winning the 2012 Masters with his famous hook shot and trademark emotion. And many folks thought he was a worthy repeat candidate heading into the 2013 Masters. But after a sloppy first round of 3-over 75, it looks pretty unlikely Bubba will find himself atop the leaderboard again come Sunday.

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Watson carded just a single birdie on the day and left an easy stroke or two on the course when he three-putted an eagle attempt on the par-5 15th hole, a nice summation of his day. It was, in the end, the highest score from a defending champion since Phil Mickelson shot a 76 in 2007.

Or perhaps you prefer his member/champ's bounce on No. 13, when he tried to hit a bomb to the green and managed to hit a tree, only to have the ball bounce back into the fairway. (As friendly as a bounce as it was, he's still, you know, hitting a tree. That's never good.)

Bubba's not done, of course. We've seen more than a few wild swings from talented players in the Masters before, and Bubba's game is the kind that allows him to go extremely low if the putts start dropping.

Take a look at the leaderboard from last year's tournament, though, and it's hard to feel confident about his chances. Bubba fired a 69 during Thursday's round in 2012 and was among the majority of top-five finishers who were under par during the first day. Only Mickelson, who shot a 74 during the first round, finished near the top of the leaderboard after going over par in the first round.

In other words, it's a long climb for the defending champion after a disappointing first round.

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