Masters Coundown: The four first-nine 30s in history
Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, KJ Choi, and Phil Mickelson own the four first-nine 30s in Masters history.
The Masters is just around the corner (30 days, to be exact) and we're pretty excited. There's plenty of golf to be played between now and then but not enough writing about Augusta. We're trying to rectify that by doing a Master countdown every day until the ceremonial tee shot.
There have been two rounds of 29 on the second nine at Augusta but never on the first nine. The first nine has seen four 30s, however, the most recent of which was Phil Mickelson's in the final round in 2009.
First things first, though. Here are the four first-nine 30s in Masters history:
Johnny Miller -- 1975 (third round)
Greg Norman -- 1988 (final round)
KJ Choi -- 2004 (second round)
Phil Mickelson 2009 (final round)
Jack Nicklaus beat Miller by one shot in 1975 and Norman lost by four to Sandy Lyle in 1988. Choi followed his 30 by a 40 on the second nine and fell to Mickelson by three in 2004.
But that round from Mickelson in 2009, man, it was awesome.
I was there and the drama was palpable. Birdies at No. 2, No. 3, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, and No. 8 got Mickelson from 4 under to 10 under and near the lead in a hurry.
He faltered late, though, with a double bogey at No. 12 and a bogey at No. 18 and finished three shots out of a playoff that Angel Cabrera eventually won. It would have taken a 64 from Lefty to get in (he shot a 67).
Mickelson was playing with Tiger Woods that day. Woods shot a 33 on the first nine that included an eagle on No. 8 that is still one of the loudest roars I've ever heard at Augusta.
After the round Jim "Bones" Mackay (Mickelson's caddie) said the entire day was a joyride.
"This was arguably the most fun I've ever had on a golf course. We're out there with the best player in golf; it's 75 degrees and sunny; he shot 30 on the front. 'C'mon! Let's try to win the Masters.'"
Just 30 days, we can't wait.
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