Thursday, April 7, 2011
Thursday's Early Round Wrap-up at Augusta
Each day of the Masters, I will be doing a morning round and afternoon round wrap-up of play. This is the first one for Thursday.
Good Scoring Conditions -- The scoring at Augusta National is always determined by the weather, and this Thursday was magnificent. Six early players shot 2-under 70s, including Rickie Fowler, Camilo Villegas and Sean O'Hair, and they aren't even within sniffing distance of the leader.
Retief Goosen giveth, Retief Goosen taketh away -- It's a pretty exciting start to your 2011 major championship run when you hole out for eagle on the very first hole, and that's what the Goose did. His front nine was good enough for a 5-under 31, but his back nine looked like those times when you leave your kids alone with the paintbrush and come back and your walls are covered in all different colors. His final nine holes included just two pars, and a bogey-bogey-bogey finish left Retief at just 2-under after day one.
Ross Fisher is Really Good at First Rounds -- Honestly, if golf tournaments were 18 holes, this guy would be the next Bobby Jones. Fisher was 4-under after a birdie on No. 11, but he couldn't take advantage of the par-5s, making par on both, and bogeyed the 17th to finish at 3-under.
Padraig Harrington Sucks Now -- This is for those that don't normally follow golf, and remember Padraig as that guy that won three majors. Harrington's opening round 77 is the fifth straight time in a major that he's failed to break par in the opening round, and on a day with good scoring, hockey sticks was not good at all.
Speaking of Sucking, Martin Kaymer Sucks at Augusta -- The number one ranked player in the world has yet to make the cut at the Masters, and unless something crazy changes, that'll continue to be the trend, as he opened with a really, really nasty 6-over 78.
Rory McIlroy Makes 65 Look like 72 -- As I wrote over at Devil Ball, the only thing I could think when McIlroy finished his opening round was how low it could have been. He had four really, really good chances for birdies on the back nine that he didn't convert, but he is stil the leader in the clubhouse. It is his second sub-66 opening round in the last three majors.
Youth Explosion! -- First, how much fun was it to watch that Jason Day/McIlroy/Fowler group? Seriously, can we pair them together for the rest of their careers? At one point, they made eight birdies combined in three holes. But it isn't just those that are having some success, Ryo Ishikawa shot 71, and early on, Johnny Vegas is under par.
My Pick Looking Good -- I picked Matt Kuchar, and he opened really strong. His 68 ties the lowest round he's ever had at the Masters, dating back all the way to when he was an amateur at Augusta in 1998, and shot 68 in the third round. Go Matt!
More to come ...