2014 Masters, Day 1
By Torleif Sorenson on 4/10/14
A few familiar names were on page one of the leaderboard when the sun set on the opening round of the 78th Masters Tournament. One familiar name (last name, anyway) was Bill Haas, son of former PGA Tour player Jay Haas and great-nephew of 1968 Masters Tournament winner Bob Goalby. Haas turned in a 68.

Defending champion Adam Scott, 2012 champion Bubba Watson, and 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen by one shot. Scott received a hero's welcome, including a standing ovation at Amen Corner. But moments later on the 12th tee, the defending champion dumped his tee shot into Rae's Creek. Double-bogey 5.

Kevin Stadler, Jonas Blixt, Gary Woodland, Jimmy Walker, K.J. Choi, Brandt Snedeker, and Marc Leishman all shot 70 and are just two shots back of Haas. Walker got hot with four straight birdies at 14, 15, 16, and at 17.

54-year-old Fred Couples shot 71, as did 50-year-old Miguel Ángel Jiménez, 20-year-old Jordan Speith, and the ever-compelling Rory McIlroy.

And then there was Bernhard Langer, the 56-year-old German who won The Masters in 1985 and 1993. He had a bit of a seesaw round that went bad with a double at the 12th, but at the 18th, with the sun setting, Langer chipped in from off the green to save par for the hole and the round.

The big names

For many prominent players, Augusta National played surprisingly tough. 2010 PGA champion Martin Kaymer, 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, Jason Day, and four-time major champion Ernie Els, all shot 75. Ian Poulter began skidding at the par-5 8th and wound up with a 76.

Among the most surprising results was that turned in by Phil Mickelson. At the par-4 7th, he just overshot the green, but his ensuing chip slid off the front of the green, resulting in a triple-bogey seven. After getting a few strokes back at 10 and 13, he put his tee-shot at 15 off to the left and decided to lay up. However, he dumped his third into the water, then two-putted for another disastrous double-bogey 7. Lefty also finished with a 76, as did the defending U.S. Open champion, Justin Rose.

The bad news for those two is that no golfer has ever come back from seven shots behind the lead after the opening round to win the Masters.

Paulina Gretzky's boyfriend shot 77, but has not yet seen fit to withdraw from this tournament, as he did last week after shooting an opening-round 80. (At least he still has that magazine cover he can look at...)

Luuuuuke, I'm your nightmare rules official!

Luke Donald, a pre-tournament favorite of some, suffered a double-bogey at the first hole, righted the ship at the 2nd and 3rd, then slipped away with a series of bogeys that left him with what he thought was a 77. But a tournament patron reported to tournament officials that Donald grounded his club in a bunker at the 9th hole after his sand shot failed to escape. Rules officials approached Donald before he signed his scorecard and informed him of the two-stroke penalty.

Off on the wrong foot

Matthew Fitzpatrick, the erstwhile Northwestern University freshman and reigning U.S. Amateur champion, is playing at a bit of a disadvantage. He was forced to get a new caddie after his regular caddie, Lorne Duncan, was prohibited by Augusta National Golf Club officials from wearing sandals on the course. Duncan suffers from some sort of foot problem and has difficulty wearing athletic shoes, so sandals are his usual footwear. Duncan was reportedly quite furious with club officials.

Replacing Duncan on Fitzpatrick's bag is Northern Ireland's Ricky Elliott, who loops for South African golfer Brooks Koepka. In the meantime, we don't anticipate Duncan being welcomed at ANGC again any time soon, right or wrong.

Image via Twitter, The Masters

[ comments ]
falcon50driver says:
Besides the sandals, they didn't like his wife beater undershirt, and cutoff bluejean shorts either. The logo on the back was ok though, it said, "The beatings will continue until morale improves"
legitimatebeef says:
Couples contending in the early rounds is damn near a Masters tradition at this point.
jpjeffery says:
"...a tournament patron reported to officials that Donald grounded his club in a bunker..."

This sucks. Even if there was some sort of official verification, which isn't reported here. On the face of it some dude said "His club touched the sand!" But did he? Or perhaps he didn't but said anonymous dude had some kind of bet that means he benefited from Luke Donald grounding his club.

I realise there may be more details which Torleif hasn't included (that's in no way a criticism, by the way) but still there's something not right about audience tell-tales.
Torleif Sorenson says:
LOL Falcon!
[ post comment ]
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