10 things you need to know about the first round of the Masters
Phil Mickelson struggles, Adam Scott does not, and neither do the rookies. But what about Tiger, did the tournament miss him on Thursday? Not so much.
If you missed the first round of the Masters, don't worry, we have you covered.
Bill Haas led the way with a 4-under 68 and leads a major for the first time in his career. He's got some big names on his tail, though. Adam Scott is one back, so is Bubba Watson. Brandt Snedeker trails by two. And Fred Couples, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy are just three back.
It was a great first day at Augusta, here are the 10 things you need to know about the day that was.
1. The course was wicked tough: And nowhere was it more difficult than at Nos. 11-12. Those were the two toughest holes on the course and we saw Adam Scott with his only error on the day at the latter. A double-bogey 12 kept the defending champ from leading alone.
Last year's first-round scoring average was 73.02 compared to 74.47 this year. That's only going to get more dangerous as the week wears on.
Brandt Snedeker knows:
Good start.. Now the fun starts... Tune in because the course is going to be beautiful and as fast as I have ever seen it!!— Brandt Snedeker (@BrandtSnedeker) April 10, 2014
"It was one of the fastest putts I've ever seen," he said. "I hit it half as hard as I wanted and it still went 15 feet past."
2. Adam Scott continues to be crazy impressive: As if following up his win at Augusta last year with top five finishes at the British Open and PGA Championship wasn't impressive enough, the world No. 2 went out and posted a 69 with two three-putt pars.
His only gaffe came at the par-3 No. 12 where he dunked after getting a little too caught up in the ovation he received.
3. Some really big names are really struggling: This stat seems relevant:
Each of the last 8 Masters winners were within 4 of the lead after round 1. 29 players currently within 4 of Haas.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) April 10, 2014
That number has dwindled to 28.
It's important because of who isn't within four of the lead.
That list includes Jason Dufner (80), Justin Rose (76), Zach Johnson (78), Angel Cabrera (78), Luke Donald (79), Dustin Johnson (77), Ian Poulter (76), Keegan Bradley (75), Jim Furyk (74), Webb Simpson (74), Matt Kuchar (73), Charl Schwartzel (73), Jason Day (75) Phil Mickelson (76), Hunter Mahan (74), and Sergio Garcia (74).
Some of those huge names are even in danger of missing the cut barring a really solid round on Friday.
4. Bubba Watson was steady: The only golfer in the field was Bubba Watson. Wait, what? It's true, the 2012 champ went with a bogey-free 69 to get within one of Bill Haas. I'm fascinated to see if he can keep his crazy no three putts streak (currently at 273) going and stay level going to the weekend.
A Scott-Watson or Watson-McIlroy duel on the weekend would be just splendid.
5. Rory McIlroy's surprise: The two-time major winner thought the course was playing tougher than a normal Masters Thursday. He told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi he was a little stunned.
"I think anything under par was a good score. They set the golf course up very difficult for a Thursday."
McIlroy shot a solid 1-under 71, same as his playing partner, Jordan Spieth. Both are very much in the mix after day one.
6. Patrick Reed humbled by the second nine: Everybody's favorite top five golfer Patrick Reed was strutting the second nine with what he thought was going to be something in the 60s.
Then he went bogey-bogey-bogey on the last three holes with a putter flip to boot at the end. It was something, I thought, entertaining at the least.
He said he didn't hit a single solid shot all day. Well ok then.
7. The rookies shined: For all the chatter about a Masters rookie winning this thing -- I didn't think it would happen -- a lot of them actually played really well.
We have a long, long way to go to Sunday afternoon but of the 19 golfers under par only Scott, McIlroy, Oosthuizen, Watson, and Couples have major wins. The other 14 are looking for No. 1.
8. Miguel Angel Jimenez or Fred Couples: Whose 71 was more surprising? Jimenez went out in 32 (a record for a golfer 50 or older) but came home in 39. Both are over 50 years of age. Both would be a monster story if they stay in it heading to the weekend.
9. Phil Mickelson struggles mightily: I thought Jason Sobel said it best:
Phil Mickelson orders up a 7 and 7. Better on the 19th hole than the 7th and 15th.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 10, 2014
Lefty went triple at No. 7 and double at No. 15 and finished with a 76. That's not good and he'll need a throwback Phil round to make the cut, much less keep his streak of top fives in even-numbered years (six straight) going.
He just looks slightly out of sorts. I don't know if it's the oblique flaring up or what but he never looked like he was comfortable or having fun. Even the bomb he hit on No. 10 surprised him.
10. No Tiger, no problem: You know what was the best thing about the first round? There was hardly a mention of Tiger Woods. That's not to say I dislike Tiger but this tournament is and should be considered bigger than any one guy. Bigger than Tiger, bigger than Jack Nicklaus, even bigger than Bobby Jones.
That was on full display today.
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