First-round leader and 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth is back on the course at golf’s first major.
Spieth did match the Masters tournament record of 18-under 270 set by Tiger Woods in 1997 to win three years ago.
“I thought it was flawless, straight at the flag”, the Spaniard said. He excused it as typical “punches” from a daunting golf course in hard conditions.
Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy put himself in position to complete the career Grand Slam with a 3-under-par 69, a score matched by 2016 British Open champion Henrik Stenson as he celebrated his 42nd birthday. He was supposed to be a rival for Tiger Woods after they had a showdown at the 1999 PGA Championship, and is known as one of the finest strikers of the ball in golf.
“I didn’t play the par-5s very well”, Woods conceded. He’s only played two bad holes after 36 and been better than most of the field on the tough Augusta greens with zero three-putts so far in the tournament. The man then downed the beer and gave Day his ball back and he would go on and get a bogey for the hole. He made the first of his six birdies at the second, and he was off.
Garcia took a 13 on the par-five 15th hole of the opening round, as he hit five balls into the water.
“It was a good round”, McIlroy said. “I told (caddy) Michael (Greller), ‘Look, when this course plays tough, I’m good for a double here or some bogeys there. So, yeah, they were huge”.
The 14-time major victor, however, would not sign off without giving the massive audience that followed him all day something to cheer, hitting back with birdies at 14 and 16.
Louis Oosthuizen, Fred Couples and Xander Schauffele are at one under, while Kevin Kisner, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose are at even par. But Woods salvaged a bogey and rallied with a pair of birdies to shoot 73, his second-highest score this season.
But what I did do well was I plotted my way around the golf course.
Thirteen! It was the worst in Masters history on the 13th hole, and tied the record for the most pitiful score on any hole in the tournament.
Garcia hit five – yes, FIVE! – balls into the water trying to land the ball on the green.
“I think I have the right amount of confidence and composure that it takes”, he said of playing Augusta National.
Sergio Garcia and wife Angela had a serious sense-of-humour failure following his nightmare 13 shots at the 15th hole in the first round. He made birdie at the par-5 second, which wasn’t a surprise given it was playing as one of the easier holes at Augusta National on Friday.
If Garcia’s octuplet bruised his ego, it paled in comparison to what Tony Finau endured. Earlier this year, he rallied to beat Rory McIlroy in a duel at the Dubai Desert Classic that allowed him to crack the top 50 in the world for the first time. Finau rolled his left ankle – and badly.
“It’s been pretty insane”, Finau told reporters. “I don’t know it’s one of those things”. He wasn’t sure he could play until tests showed he was cleared to play.
-Tony Finau shot a 68 a day after dislocating his ankle. Spieth was one behind Finau on 24, tied with Sandy Lyle – who made a monster putt for eagle at the 15th. It had gone ice cold.
Given Jordan Spieth’s past experiences at Augusta National, there was no reason to panic. It worked again on Thursday. Ridley’s embarrassment was eased by the two golfing greats making a joke of it – saying the longest drive by an honorary starter was now worth a green jacket to add to their nine. Coming up to the first tee, the people come out of the clubhouse and the putting green. Kuchar has finished top-eight in four of the last six Masters and is poised to contend once again.